Date: Tue, 11 Jul 1995 16:17:26 PDT
From: "Jim Ague, ague[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]tincup.cxo.dec.com, Col Spgs,
CO" ague[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]REDRCK.ENET.DEC.COM
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.
(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
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
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."