ku-xlargeI definitely am with the author of this article‘s enthusiasm and admitted (over-)use of what might just be one of the most versatile words in modern spoken English: DUDE.

(You just have to get past the fact that in the source article they don’t seem to know the difference between tones and intonation.)

What that blog post glosses over, but that’s at the heart of linguistic research on “dude” such as this, is not so much the use of the word as a noun synonymous to different variations on “guy”, but rather as a form of address. It used be primarily between men, but now women use it to address each other and to establish solidarity with the interlocutor.

What’s fun is looking for “dude” equivalents in different languages. “Che” in Argentine Spanish has a function similar to “dude”, though with syntactic and intonational differences. In Iberian Spanish the word “hombre” can be used in similar, albeit seemingly more limited, fashion at the beginning of an utterance, to create solidarity, usually in cases of disagreement or to mitigate a negative reaction or response to the interlocutor.


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