Liek-Yuno Simplex was serendipitously identified in the late 1960’s by Dr. Forest Liek and Dr. Tumatso Yuno, researchers in the Department of Psychology at Malibu State University in California. During their research on the effects of various types of flatware on the pharyngeal reflex (Ref. Liek & Yuno, “Don’t Gag Me with Your Spoon,” Journal of Culinary Psychology, Sept. 1969) Drs. Liek and Yano related to one another the unusual repeating word patterns that had been adopted by their teenage daughters, who, coincidentally, were simultaneously enrolled at San Fernando Valley High School.
Upon further investigation the pair were able to describe the microdisorder that now bears their names: Liek-Yuno Simplex. The microdisorder is characterized by the use of repeating words and/or phrases upon which verbal sentence structure is interlaced. Words and phrases that are commonly used are “just saying,” “okay,” “you know,” “I mean,” “and stuff,” “know what I’m saying,” “totally,” and in particular “like.” An ethnogrammatical example of resulting speech patterns is illustrated in a verse from Frank Zappa’s Valley Girl:
Like, oh my God!
Encino is like so bitchin’.
There’s like the Galleria.
And like all these like really great shoe stores.
I love going into like clothing stores and stuff.
I like buy the neatest mini-skirts and stuff.
It’s like so bitchin’ cause like everybody’s like super-super nice.
It’s like so bitchin’.
Liek-Yuno Simplex is particularly difficult to treat insofar as the people who exhibit the symptoms almost never listen to themselves speaking and therefore their scattering of misplaced vocalizations throughout their speech does not enter their attention.
Immersion in specialized Toastmasters’ classes has had marginal success while experimental trials of vocal fold biofeedback using amiokenitic stimulation to the femoral nerve is like showing signs of promise. Totally.