This article explores the use of so-called GenX so in constructions with future going to in American English, as exemplified by “Guys, you’re so not going to believe what just happened” (Simone; All My Children, ABC, June 20, 2003). This study draws on the Corpus of American Soap Operas (https://corpus.byu.edu/soap/) to examine the development of emphasized going to (certainly/definitely/really going to are also considered) between 2001 and 2012. It analyzes approximately 2,600 tokens, highlighting differences and similarities in the use of these emphasizers. The data show: (1) so, while being less frequent than certainly and definitely, covaries with them; (2) young female characters are most likely to use GenX so; (3) so going to exhibits a fairly restricted collocational range compared to the other emphasizers, particularly in negated utterances; and (4) second-person subjects (you) favor this new construction. Naturally, differences between television dialogue and natural speech are considered.
“You’re So Not Going to Believe This”:The Use of Genx so in Constructions with Future going to in American English
ulrike stange is a research assistant at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany, where she instructs prospective teachers of English as a foreign language in the intricacies of English. She is passionate about her work and has a soft spot for British English and Italian. Her research interests are sparked by encounters with “oddities” in the English language, such as the use of pseudo-passives in British English and innovative uses of the intensifier so. She is author of Emotive Interjections in British English (Benjamins, 2016) and holds a Ph.D. in English linguistics from the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität. E-mail: email@example.com.
Ulrike Stange; “You’re So Not Going to Believe This”:The Use of Genx so in Constructions with Future going to in American English. American Speech 1 November 2017; 92 (4): 487–524. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-4395168
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