Quotative all lives!

Today’s Frazz, by Jef Mallett:

The substance of the strip is entertaining in itself, but here I’m interested in quotative (be) all, in

Mrs. Olsen was all, “I can’t …”

Research a few years back suggested that this quotative, which once was widespread among young speakers in the U.S., was receding fast, in favor of quotative (be) like. But here it is in the mouth of 8-year-old Caulfield (Frazz himself is 30). Well…

(Note: to celebrate this posting, I have assembled a Page on quotative verbs and quotative inversion —“Aaugh”, sobbed Charlie Brown — linking to postings on this blog and Language Log.)

Ok, the speaker who uses quotative all is a kid, but a kid in a cartoon, and that cartoon is drawn by an artist who’s roughly 55 (Mallett was born in 1962), so this is not exactly a first-hand bulletin on youth-speak.

But quotative all does live among the young. Here (unearthed in a few minutes) are four recent examples in informal, decidedly youth-toned writing (note other youth-marked features):

was all “YES! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I KEEP TRYING TO TELL PEOPLE!” and then it turned out i wrote this article and forgot about it cause 2016 [Twitter] (link)

A Friendly Reminder That James Franco Is a Stone-Cold Fox … When He Was All, “Yes, Welcome to My Life. I’ve Been Waiting For You.” [fan site] (link)

and I was all “NO WAY!”, and she was all “YES WAY!”, and I was like… {“Monsters vs. Aliens” quote] (link)

When This Rando [random person] Touched His Hair, and He Was All, “Yes, It’s Gorgeous, I’m Aware” [celebrity site] (link)

3 Responses to “Quotative all lives!”

  1. thnidu Says:

    I couldn’t parse your headline when it came up on my Google+ feed, because you didn’t quote “all”.

  2. thnidu Says:

    Some of us are sometimes pretty copeless.

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