[Ads-l] Meaningless "so" at start of reply sentence

Kate Svoboda-Spanbock katesvobodaspanbock at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 14 14:33:11 EST 2017


Not sure whether any of the references below mention it, but, Seamus Heaney used it, followed by a period, to start his translation of Beowulf.
--
Kate Svoboda-Spanbock
katesvobodaspanbock at gmail.com
310-880-3091



On Nov 14, 2017, at 11:10 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> Back when, I somehow got into the habit of introducing a topic with the
> words, "As I've said," even though I'd not mentioned that topic before,
> ever. I became consciously aware of it after my girlfriend eventually
> freaked out.
> 
> On Sun, Nov 12, 2017 at 9:02 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Googling for "sentence-initial 'so'" yields some familiar faces.
>> 
>> Geoff Nunberg on Fresh Air:
>> https://www.npr.org/2015/09/03/432732859/so-whats-the-big-
>> deal-with-starting-a-sentence-with-so
>> 
>> Arnold Zwicky on his blog:
>> https://arnoldzwicky.org/2015/08/11/so/
>> 
>> Grant Barrett on A Way With Words:
>> https://www.waywordradio.org/sentence-initial-so/
>> 
>> Mark Liberman on Language Log:
>> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2570
>> 
>> 
>> On Sun, Nov 12, 2017 at 5:22 PM, Margaret Winters <mewinters at wayne.edu>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> I've been noticing it for a couple of years at the LSA and other
>>> conferences - younger speakers particularly tend to start their talks
>> with
>>> 'so' or 'ok'.  I've been understanding it as a semantic inchoative -
>> 'This
>>> is an announcement that I am getting going on my talk'.  I once started
>>> trying to gather data at a conference (approximate age of speaker,
>> gender,
>>> and first word), but got distracted too many times and gave it up.  I
>> don't
>>> know of anything has been written on it, but would be interested.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Margaret
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ----------------------------
>>> MARGARET E WINTERS
>>> Former Provost
>>> Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
>>> Wayne State University
>>> Detroit, MI  48202
>>> 
>>> mewinters at wayne.edu
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
>>> Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU>
>>> Sent: Sunday, November 12, 2017 5:12 PM
>>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>> Subject: Meaningless "so" at start of reply sentence
>>> 
>>> Yesterday a friend asked me about something I've noticed for at least a
>>> year: On TV and radio I often hear a response to a question begin with
>> the
>>> meaningless word so.
>>> 
>>> E.g.:
>>> 
>>> Question: Did the Democrats have a good turnout?
>>> 
>>> Answer begins: So let's look at the figures.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Has this feature been treated yet in any linguistic discussions?  And is
>>> my impression correct that it is a relatively recent development (the
>> past
>>> year or two)?
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list