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‘So’ Pushes to the Head of the Line « Anand Giridharadas
"So, it is widely believed that the recent ascen­dancy of “so” began in Sil­i­con Val­ley. The jour­nal­ist Michael Lewis picked it up when research­ing his 1999 book “The New New Thing”: “When a com­puter pro­gram­mer answers a ques­tion,” he wrote, “he often begins with the word ‘so.”’ Microsoft employ­ees have long argued that the “so” boom began with them.

In the soft­ware world, it was a tic that made sense. In immigrant-filled tech­nol­ogy firms, it democ­ra­tized talk by replac­ing a world of pos­si­ble tran­si­tions with a catchall.
And “so” sug­gested a kind of think­ing that appealed to problem-solving types: con­ver­sa­tion as a log­i­cal, uni­di­rec­tional process, pro­ceed­ing much in the way of soft­ware code — if this, then that.

This log­i­cal tinge to “so” has fol­lowed it out of soft­ware. Start­ing a sen­tence with “so” uses the whiff of logic to relay author­ity. Where “well” vac­il­lates, “so” declaims."

[via: http://www.clusterflock.org/2010/06/meet-the-flockers-luke-neff.html ]
so  via:lukeneff  culture  english  semantics  slang  language  psychology  meaning  linguistics  journalism  writing  words  speech  anandgiridharadas 
june 2010 by robertogreco

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