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Kiesling, Scott (2004) Dude. American Speech, 79 (3). pp. 281-305. ISSN 1527-2133

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Older adults, baffled by the new forms of language that regularly appear in youth cultures, frequently characterize young people’s language as “inarticulate,” and then provide examples that illustrate the specific forms of linguistic mayhem performed by “young people nowadays.” For American teenagers, these examples usually include the discourse marker like, rising final intonation on declaratives, and the address term dude, which is cited as an example of the inarticulateness of young men in particular. This stereotype views the use of dude as unconstrained – a sign of inexpressiveness in which one word is used for any and all utterances. These kinds of stereotypes, of course, are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the functions and meanings of these linguistic forms. As analyses of like and rising intonation have shown these forms are constrained in use and elegantly expressive in meaning. Dude is no exception. In this article I outline the patterns of use for dude, and its functions and meanings in interaction. I provide some explanations for its rise in use, particularly among young men, in the early 1980s, and for its continued popularity since then.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.edukiesling0000-0003-4954-1038
Date: August 2004
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: American Speech
Volume: 79
Number: 3
Publisher: Duke University Press
Page Range: pp. 281-305
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1215/00031283-79-3-281
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1527-2133
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2019 18:36
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 18:36


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