Where I Work

Where I Work
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Meet “So”, the new “Um”…


A few months ago I started noticing that on a number of the podcasts I listen to the word “So” began to get a lot more play. Specifically, people were using it as a lead into what they were going to say. It was different, not necessarily grammatically correct, but convenient and somewhat intriguing.

For example:

“I was making breakfast this morning, and …”

becomes

“So (long pause), this morning I was making breakfast and…”

Over the past month, it seems to have jumped to office speak as well. It has become impossible for me to get through a phone call or meeting without people using it right and left. Oddly, the world “like” has dropped out of site. I should say that I’m as guilty of this as anyone else and the more aware of it I become, the troublesome it is to me.
Of interesting note is that in yoga, “Soham” is a mantra, which means, “I am That”. When using the mantra, "So" is pronounced during inhalation and Ham during exhalation.

So, what’s the deal with "So"? Why has it invaded the business speak like a verbal bird flu? It does not seem to have yet achieved “ducks in a row” status as being a horribly overused phrase, but I do not think this is from lack of trying.