Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 14:46:42 -0700 From: Dan Alford Subject: Re: For "he says", like "he's all" or "he goes" or "he's like" (fwd) I'm glad the subject of "I'm all..." finally came up. I've been saving this for the right time. DARE, pay attention. I cite from the following: Dan Alford, "A New English Language Quotative" in _Not Just Words: The Newsletter of Transpersonal Linguistics_, Vol II, No. 2-3, Fall 1982-3 (sic): ***************************************************************************************************** There is a new way of introducing "quoted" material which is surfacing in children in many parts of California -- and I'm wondering if any readers have spotted it elsewhere. (Remember, you read it first in NJW -- nobody in discouse has mentioned it yet to my knowledge.) The fascinating part about the new quotative pattern is that it can be used to introduce either verbal or non-verbal messages. The subscriber who first alerted me to this usage, Suzanne Peregoy, had noticed its usage in Santa Barbara, Berkeley, and other parts of the Bay Area. I subsequently heard it coming out of the mouth of my own 9-year-old daughter, who hangs out most of the time up in the mountains of Placerville. There are two parts to this separable discourse-eme (for lack of a better word), each of which is followed by the material being quoted: She's all, "(Quo)". I'm here, "(Quo)". [update: the second doesn't seem to have lasted] Again, the quoted material may be non-verbal, as in "S/he's all, '(with hands on hips and falsetto voice) Why don't you ever do what you're told?' I'm here, '(feigned nonchalance) la-de-da-de-da'." Or "She's all, '(demonstrates jittery movements with hands and arms going in all directions).' I'm here, 'Give me a BREAK and calm down!'' The whole pattern may be repeated once, and perhaps more times. This construction may signal a new direction in the grammar of English, or it may simply be an example of pre-pube in-group language. ... **************************************************************************************************** As I type again those words from over a decade ago (of course the old CP/M Wordstar file it was in has not survived the years. All the cheery-eyed electronic prognosticators forget the fact that files in old formats seldom survive transformations), I'm astounded at its accuracy even now -- little has changed, except it's now "I'm all," "She's all," and the original "I'm here" has been lost to arcane linguistic history. And re: the larger inquiry this belongs to, "I'm like", I just received this attested sentence on tape from a student in the obligatory transcript of 5 minutes of unvarnished reality: "Christina and I went and we were like, 'Excuse me?'" On Fri, 14 Jul 1995, Peter McGraw wrote: > I forwarded Jim Ague's message on this topic to my son for his amusement, > and think his response might interest some on the list. Any comment from > AAVE specialists out there? (Note: the middle school he refers to [in > Yellow Springs, Ohio] was a harmoniously integrated school in which > middle-class black students were a sizeable minority and seemed to be the > trend-setters.) > > Peter McGraw > Linfield College > McMinnville, OR > > ---------- Forwarded message ---------- > Date: Thu, 13 Jul 95 22:02:49 PDT > From: Patrick McGraw > To: pmcgraw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > Subject: Re: For "he says", like "he's all" or "he goes" or "he's like" (fwd) > > I suspect these usages are not originally from California, but from Black > English. Especially when I was in Middle School, people would often > follow "He's like" with not just words, but gestures indicating what > someone was doing. The phrase indicates that what follows is an > imitation. "He's all" probably has similar origins-- it can also come > before an adjective or a description, e.g., "He's all pissed 'cause I > didn't invite him." I imagine the usage with a quotation is an extension > of this. >