June 20, 2007
All in Decline
Nathan Bierma, who writes the column "On Language" for the Chicago Tribune and serves as communications and research coordinator for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, recently addressed the decline of the "quotative" use of all, as in "She was all, 'Why don't you publish my book?' and I'm all 'Because it's too colloquial, yo!' "
In a 2005 survey of California high school and college students, . . . a team of researchers at Stanford University found that the quotative use of "all" had plummeted since the early 1990s. In their study, speakers used "all" less than 5 percent of the time they introduced quotations, down from 45 percent in 1994. "All" had even fallen behind the word "said," which was used 12 percent of the time.
So much for my dynamic equivalency translation of Genesis 1:
And God was all, "Let there be light!" And it got all bright for a while. And then God was all, "Get a sky up in here!" And so now there's, like, a sky and stuff. And God was all like, "Gimme some land, will ya?" And so we got land and seas and all that.
That's as far as I've gotten, so I didn't waste a lot of creative energy on the project, but I'm still all sad about it.