"Like" abuse redivivus/ to "be all"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Apr 13 18:06:43 UTC 2008

On Apr 13, 2008, at 10:48 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> "Warriors against _Like_" also tend not to notice that there's more
> than one syntactical phenomenon involved.  The development of "to be
> like" is added to the erstwhile beatnik-associated sentence-initial
> "like," the interruptive-pause "like," and the adjective-final "like."

this is all too true, and i mentioned the problem in my LLog posting
about O'Conner's NYT piece.  O'Conner went to some trouble to
distinguish quotative "like" from the discourse-particle uses, but
most of our mail on the subject just lumps them all together.

>  These all have their own histories and arose at different times.
> All, hiowever, are obviously still current.
>  More recently there is a "to be all" that is about the same as "to
> be like," though
> it seems not to be as common. Ir didn't make it into HDAS I (1994).

oh, good grief.  look at:

John R. Rickford, Isabelle Buchstaller, Thomas Wasow, & Arnold Zwicky,
Intensive and quotative all: Something old, something new, American
Speech 82.1.3-31 (2007).

(there was also a paper at the last NWAV conference.) i've posted here
(and on Language Log) a number of times about the Stanford ALL Project.

the AmSp article has considerable bibliography.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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