Date: Sun, 2 Nov 1997 16:39:07 -0500

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: "it's all good"

At 04:27 PM 11/2/97 -0500, you wrote:

Why does everything have to originate from AAVE or "Black Talk?"

Some phrases or sayings are just that, not because they originated from

black people, but just sayings. Damn!, why cant it come from "White

talk" and what exactly would white talk be? I'm not trying to offend

anybody its just that this "black talk" issue is kind of touchy for me.

I'd be sympathetic in a general way with these sentiments. The issue at hand

is what the actual origin and usage-history of "it's all good" is, and

that's an open question absent empirical research into the early usage

(which someone out there may yet produce). I suspect that when a locution

sounds authentic it might seem tempting to say "urban vernacular," i.e.,

cool, new, with-it, etc. But one could argue (just prima facie, without the

empirical evidence that is the only crucial thing) that "it's all good"

sounds as much like a new-agey or pop-buddhist phrase (or something like

that) as it does like an AAVE phrase. People of African and of European

descent are probably more or less equally likely to come up with

authentic-sounding vernacular locutions.... Nobody has a monopoly on one

type of linguistic innovation or another....

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]