Jun

24

"Audiences use language devices seen regularly in the movies to shape their own discourse," he points out. In particular, people are likely to see what types of speech 'work well' in the movies in enabling characters to gain their objectives, and copy that. "One might surmise that movies are the marketplace for seeing what's on offer, what works, and what needs purchasing and avoiding in buyers' own communicative lives," Giles says.

From here

Gibbons Burke writes:

 Saturday Night Live seems to have an initial measure of success. The actors and writer seem to track how effective they are at planting and watering the seeds of catchwords in the culture, ways of talking in novel distinctive ways that they can see in society and know they are having an impact.

For example, it was sort of novel when David spade played an arrogant receptionist who would receive clients at an office. Rather than ask a straight question, every request for informatiowas posed as a fill in the blank. For example, rather than ask the client "May I have your name?" or "What is your name?" make a statement which required an answer to complete. "I am here to see Dr. Dinkus." Spade replies "…and you arrrrrrre ________?" "Tom Turkey" "and you re seeing Dr. becaussssssse _________?" "I have a sore back."

All of a sudden, it seems to me everyone starts talking like that - a viral verbal meme. Maybe it was there before, and SNL just lofted it to prominence.

A more recent case like that is the repeated "Really?" question - as an expression of indignation, surprise, disbelief. "Really, San Francisco? Banning goldfish? Really? Really?"

I don't know if the writers on SNL heard that somewhere and then decided to flog it into mass acceptance, or whether their writers just like coming up with that sort of thing, but it seems to be a cultural game that probably goes on in the movies as well.

Pitt T. Maner III writes:

The one that has become noticeable to me in the past couple of years on CNBC is the use of "So" to start answers to questions. Maybe this has been around a long time but it has an odd cadence to it. The host asks the guest a specific question and the guest answers with a somewhat deflective sounding…"So first quarter sales improved and our expectations for the rest of the year are…."

"So" becomes a transitional word to suggest a level of sophistication about what is to follow—it eases the speaker into a difficult answer, but it has certain dismissive and weaseling connotations when overused.

One is tempted to say "so, so what?" to CEOs who begin all sentences with "So".

I am not sure where or when the "So" meme started or how it took root in the Wall Street Community but there must be a simple explanation not related to Peter Gabriel's 5th studio album.

 


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