Re "They're, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrve" ...: For huge pluralities of Americans under 40, English is littered with qualifiers: not just "like," but "you know," "sort of," and "I mean." When combined with "uptalk," these phrases are effectively a social taboo against expressing certainty, commitment or confidence in anything we say.
Linguists caution against "forming negative judgments," but the rest of us are alarmed at this syntactic chaos. English teachers, at the front lines, seem to have abandoned the teaching of the cultivation of grace and clarity in our speech, and therefore in our thoughts.Well, thank some deity or other it's the English teachers' fault!!!
(Image from here)