Generation D

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 30 05:56:35 UTC 2001

At 10:17 AM -0800 3/30/01, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>i have some interest in finding the earliest cites for "gen X"
>or "gen-X".  some of you might recall that i've been collecting
>examples of "gen-X SO" (as in "I am so not going to look at this
>issue"), so the first uses of "gen-X" would be worth a footnote.
>(i've managed to pass this project on to a stanford grad student,
>so the footnote would be his rather than mine.)
Maybe we need a metavariable, as "gen-X SO" is alive and well in
gen-Y.  But speaking of the construction, rather than the generation,
I realized last night (while watching Friends, a mother-lode of [at
least putative] gen-X dialogue) that it extends to "totally", as in
(something like)

"He TOTALLY is checking you out."
(Phoebe to Rachel, of guy across the coffee shop)

Phoebe could also have said "He is TOTALLY checking you out", but
this would be ambiguous between the metalinguistic/emphatic gen-X
reading and a generation-nonspecific manner reading.


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