Date: Tue, 11 Jul 1995 16:17:26 PDT

From: "Jim Ague, ague[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE], Col Spgs,


Subject: For "he says", like "he's all" or "he goes" or "he's like"

This showed up in another conference. If you haven't seen it, you, being

dialectologists, might get a chuckle out of it.

-- Jim



(By Alice Kahn, San Francisco Chronicle)


I'm all, "When did people start talking this way?"

So I call my friend George Lakoff, the, you know, LINGUIST? And

he's all, "What is 'all' doing there? It's not your everyday 'all'."

But the teenagers I know, they're all, "Ohmygod, this is how we, you

know, TALK?"

And like this girl I know, Tamar, she went to the University of

Vermont last year and during orientation this girl from the South is

all, "Hi, you all," And Tamar, she's all, "I'm about to ask her if

she's from the South because she has this Southern ACCENT? And she's

all, 'Are you from California?' And I'm all, 'How did you know?' And

she's all, 'By the way you say "all" instead of "said".' And I'm all,


So I like call this other linguist, Geoff Nunberg, he's on like NPR

and he's all, "It's used in the narrative present," and I'm all,


And then he's all, "New verbs for 'say' come like every thousand

years and suddenly we have three at once."

He's talking about "like" and "go", which some people say instead

of "all".

He's like, "What happened 15 or so years ago that led to three new

verbs?" And I go, "You don't think people got, you know, DUMBER?"

Then, this is so totally weird, I get this like LETTER? And it's

from this guy Dave Reynolds who's a student at Del Amigo High School

in, you know, DANVILLE? And he sends me this Slang Dictionary he and

his friends wrote and there on Page 2 they're all: "He's all: a

phrase used instead of he said... example: And then he's all, 'Hi


And then on the next line they're like, "He goes: same as 'He's


And I'm like, "Dave, do you talk this way?" and he's all, "I

don't say it that much, but when teenagers are talking with their

friends they say it. And people I know, their mothers talk that way."

So I go, "What do you think of mothers who talk that way?" and

Dave's all, "They sound more worldly. They listen to their kids and

communicate with them more."

And then I'm all, "Groovy." And then Dave blows my mind by saying

he's even heard people say "like" plus "all"! and I'm all, "Like give

me an example," and he goes, "He's like all, 'I want to break up with


And I'm like all, "Yeah, I've heard that, for sure."

So then I'm all, "Dave, how come you don't have the word 'chill' in

your slang dictionary?" because I've been chillin' with Dave on the

phone for a while now and I like want to show him I'm worldly. So Dave

goes, "It's used so much it's really not slang."

Is he clownin' me? Then I'm all, "Well, how come 'groovy' is in

the slang dictionary?"

And he's all, "That's a comic term because it's so old."

And I like go all, "Oh."