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Frequently beginning answers with the word "So..."

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Uploaded on Feb 15, 2009

When did you first notice people were more frequently beginning their answers to questions with the word "so"?

So, two or three years ago, while attending a series of conferences over a few months, I noticed several people doing this. It seemed most of them were young computer programmers, or only out of college a few years. So I guessed this was either a new habit emerging in the academy, or among the technical and scientific community.
~

It's not a pet peeve of mine - yet. But I'm curious how this verbal tic got started, how it spread, and what it tells us about the underlying thought processes of the speakers.

This clip is a compilation of excerpts from a recent Charlie Rose interview of David Swensen, head of endowments for Yale University (http://charlierose.com). Of the 19 questions Charlie asked, eight of Swensen's answers began with "So."

I honestly mean no disrespect to Mr. Swensen here. It's just a perfect example of this phenomenon, and I'm really hoping someone can enlighten me on how it got started and what it might mean. I tell you, it's not an easy question to form a Google query for.

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