Sorta Speak

I just wrote an entry for the common error “sorta speak” on my Web site.

To keep things brief, I decided to omit a couple of points that I want to share here on the blog.

According to the American Dictionary of Idioms, “so to speak” was used in the early nineteenth century by upper-class English speakers to acknowledge that they were using a lower-class expression—the sort of thing they would not normally say.

Only later did it come to be used in a less snobbish way.

The mangled expression “soda speak” is much less common, but it seems to have been the name of a Michigan band. See a list of their songs on MySpace. Their most-often cited song is “I Grew Up on TGIF.” Someone made a video of the song filled with ’90s nostalgia. This has led several writers to assume that the maker of the video was also named “Soda Speak” (see this item on Huffington Post).

1 comment:

PQuincy said...

Does 'so to speak' represent a weaker form of the old "salva venia" (s.v.) or other similar expressions (salva honore, cum venia, etc.) used to set off impure or objectionable terms in formal (mostly German?) prose. The historian David Sabean wrote a great little article on it some years ago: German 18th century administrators, when they had to mention a pig would write about "a (salva venia) pig", because pigs were unmentionable in polite company. (As a side note: as a result of such usage, the Surselvan Rhaeto-Romance word for pig, to this day, is "salvonur".