LINGUIST List 2.680

Fri 18 Oct 1991

Disc: (S)he goes

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Directory

  1. , 2.660 Responses
  2. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 2.676 Like Goes All...
  3. BROADWELL GEORGE AARON, forms of the verb 'say'
  4. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 2.564 Responses: Themself, I says, Possessive

Message 1: 2.660 Responses

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 91 08:49:48 EDT
From: <elc9jprime.acc.Virginia.EDU>
Subject: 2.660 Responses
On "I says", "he goes" etc.: another form should be added to this list
of narrative quotation-introducers, used especially by American teenagers.
"...I was like, 'give me a break!' (or other quote)". This form can be
used in either present or past ("I'm like, 'give me a break!'"). I
THINK it's not synonymous with 'say', in that it need not introduce an
actual quote. It can be followed by a non-verbal "quote", e.g. a shrug
or facial expression, (in this respect it is similar to "he goes"), and
also by a report of what the person was thinking-- they don't have to have
said it out loud (in this respect it seems to be different from both
'say' and 'go').
Ellen Contini-Morava
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Message 2: Re: 2.676 Like Goes All...

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 91 09:02:52 EDT
From: Geoffrey Russom <EL403015brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.676 Like Goes All...
Spackman's markup of "X says" (staid situation), "X goes" (doing voices),
"X is like" (dramatic impression), and "X is all" (full-body caricature)
seems not unreasonable in its scale of emphasis. I would only point out
that the most recent coinage is always the most emphatic one, so the next
"X does whatever" term to come down the pike will pre-empt the "full-body
caricature" slot. We seem to have here the sort of development noted by
Aronoff in his well-known "Automobile Semantics" article, which describes
Detroit's practice coining a new name for the top-of-the-line model, with
pre-existing names bumped downward one notch. A small additional
quibble: I and one other contributor to this discussion noted that "X is
like" frequently introduces thoughts or feelings not revealed in the
discourse situation, so "dramatic impression" might be a bit vague.
-- Rick Russom
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Message 3: forms of the verb 'say'

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 91 11:16:31 -0400
From: BROADWELL GEORGE AARON <gb661csc.albany.edu>
Subject: forms of the verb 'say'
I think all of the following are possible ways of introducing direct
quotes:
He was like 'That's disgusting.'
She was kinda 'Well, I don't know if I should.'
I'm sort of `Well, maybe I will.'
They were all 'How could you eat that?'
?She was 'Leave me alone!'
All of the above sound quite bad to me without the copula. From this,
I would conclude that `like, kinda, all,' and `sort of' are not
the verbs in these utterances, but modifiers of the following direct
quote.
******************************************************************************
Aaron Broadwell, Dept. of Linguistics, University at Albany -- SUNY,
Albany, NY 12222 gb661leah.albany.edu
"If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be
happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since
we think them happier than they are." -- Montesquieu
******************************************************************************
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Message 4: Re: 2.564 Responses: Themself, I says, Possessive

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 91 14:45:02 EDT
From: Geoffrey Russom <EL403015brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject: Re: 2.564 Responses: Themself, I says, Possessive
The "historical present" is often
said to indicate special emphasis or involvement.
Presumably this falls out from Hadj Ross's "me first" principle,
since the present is "closer" to the narrator than the past.
Past tense can then be used to put actions of subordinate interest into
the narrative background.
Ron Smyth seems to use "I says," etc., primarily in a storytelling
mode to identify who said what.
Presumably he doesn't get "I says let's go
and get some ice cream" because this is not uttered as part of a story and
because
"say" is being used to express an opinion rather than to perform a
useful storytelling function. Part of Smyth's project,
then, would involve theory of oral storytelling, as done by Milman Parry,
Albert Lord, Bill Labov, etc. A bibliography of such studies has recently
been published (ed. John Miles Foley). It's a commonplace of oral theory
that storytelling dialects are unlike the dialect that would be used by
the narrator in ordinary conversation. In the study of Homer or the
BEOWULF poet, you have to do with a poetic koine containing many archaisms
and forms from a variety of dialects. In America, the storytelling
dialect will often reflect the subculture in which a given type
of story arose, even if the speaker has moved out of that subculture or
was never a fully-fledged member of it.
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