Teen Lingo site

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Feb 2 00:38:38 UTC 2005

On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 17:37:17 -0500, Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>

>--On Tuesday, February 1, 2005 9:13 AM -0500 Laurence Horn
><laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
>> At 12:11 AM -0500 2/1/05, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>>  Another first: on a sitcom, I heard a white character
>>> say: "It's your world. I'm just living in it."
>> This has been big on ESPN's SportsCenter for a while.  A highlight
>> of, say, a basketball player X making a great move is shown and the
>> anchor says "It's X's world; we're just living in it."  At least
>> since the late 90's.  Maybe first with Michael Jordan?  Can you help
>> narrow it down, Alice?
>I can't narrow it down. But, it *sounds* like a Stuart Scott-ism. Somewhere
>I've saved an essay by him on why it's OK for him to use colloquial
>AAVE-isms in his sportscasts. I want to say that it dates from about the
>time of the Oakland Ebonics fuss, but I'm not sure.

We have Dean Martin's "It's your world, Frank -- I just live in it" c.
1963 (see post upthread).  The hallmark of the AAVE variant seems to be
the use of the progressive form of "live" ("I'm/we're just livin' in it").
 The first Usenet cite I can find for that form is from 1992 in a sigline:


Cites start appearing on Nexis in 1993:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 19, 1993, p. 4D
"This is Indiana's world and we're just living in it now," Wright State
coach Ralph Underhill said.
New York Times, Aug. 30, 1993, p. D9
"There's a rawness, an honesty," he added during an interview last week in
New York, "that makes you say, 'Yes, these people do know who they're
talking to.' " That is underscored by the campaign's theme: "It's her
world. We're just living in it."
[regarding ad campaign for YM Magazine, targeted to teenage girls]

It's noted as basketball slang in this 1999 "Hoops Glossary":

St. Petersburg Times, Mar. 26, 1999, p. 40X
your world - a complimentary term used for a teammate who can take his
opponent. "It's your world and we're just living in it."

I do recall Stuart Scott using the phrase in the mid- to late '90s, most
often referring to Charles Barkley, I think.

--Ben Zimmer

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