Archive for the ‘Quotation’ Category

Larkin and the Gray Lady, again

May 17, 2017

I’ve been on break from remarking on some of the obsessions of the New York Times — its periodiphilia, its taboo avoidance, and so on — but I’m moved to return to the second of these topics because the Gray Lady has managed to reproduce, in deail, one of its previous encounters with taboo vocabulary, a tussle with poet Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”.

(more…)

Quotative all lives!

March 15, 2017

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…

(more…)

Grammar nazi on the loose in the library

October 15, 2016

The Unshelved cartoon from the 12th, passed on by Betsy Herrington on Facebook:

The GN takes a truly extreme (One Right Way) position that like can be only a verb, a bizarre view that results in her seeing the library poster as being incorrectly punctuated. (Ok, when in doubt, blame it on the punctuation.) She doesn’t even recognize the preposition use (Which one of these things is not like the others?), not to mention the many uses of like that are set off intonationally in speech and consequently should be punctuated with a comma — no doubt she dismisses these as simply incorrect, “not English” — in particular, quotative like (I asked when she was going, and she was like, “In a minute”) and discourse particle, or discourse marker, like, as in the library’s poster.

(more…)

November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.

(more…)

A forest of symbols in a time of love

February 14, 2015

Vatentine’s Day sets off an avalanche of greeting cards, from the sloppily sentimental through the joking — lots and lots of puns — to the off-color and the openly insulting. Just about any emotion you can imagine can be packaged into a Valentine’s Day card. Here’s one from a friend to me this year, with a pun (“Love you a bunch!”) and a penguin: “just a bit twee”, the sender wrote, but adding in mitigation that at least it had a penguin:

(#1)

And then we get this remarkable object, a veritable forest of sexual imagery:

(#2)

(more…)

Quotative moments

February 7, 2015

Yesterday, Geoff Pullum posted an xkcd strip citing Patricia Cukor-Avila on “quotative like“, I linked to it, and lots of people on Facebook were impressed by the concept. So here a few words about quotative constructions, beginning with a wonderful exchange in a song from the 1996 album Love Is Dead by The Mr T Experience:

I’m like “Yeah”
but she’s all “No”
and I’m all “Come on baby, let’s go”
and she’s like “I don’t think so”

(with the quotative elements bolfaced). The guy and the girl go back and forth between quotative like and quotative all in their bargaining.

(more…)

Quotatives

June 16, 2013

A Funny Times cartoon (passed on by Rebecca Wheeler on Facebook):

In the world of innovative quotatives (which includes go, (be) like, (be) all, and be), (belike has definitely been on the upswing. See the items in Isa Buchstaller’s 2004 bibliography on quotatives: social and linguistic factors and grammaticalization and the Stanford papers on quotative (be) all:

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

Isabelle Buchstaller, John R. Rickford, Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Thomas Wasow, & Arnold M. Zwicky. The sociolinguistics of a short-lived innovation: Tracing the development of quotative all across spoken and internet newsgroup data. Language Variation and Change 22.2.191-219 (2010).

From the abstract for the second of these:

This paper examines a short-lived innovation, quotative all, in real and apparent time. We used a two-pronged method to trace the trajectory of all over the past two decades: (i) Quantitative analyses of the quotative system of young Californians from different decades; this reveals a startling cross-over pattern: in 1990/4 all predominates, but by 2005 it has given way to like; (ii) Searches of internet newsgroups; these confirm that after rising briskly in the 1990s, all is declining. Tracing the changing usage of quotative options provides year-to-year evidence that all has recently given way to like.