Back in the 1930's, it seems to have been common to start one's sentences with "say," sometimes drawn out for emphasis as we do with words and tropes we use to emphasize our own connectedness with the segment of popular culture we have chosen, consciously or unconsciously. Picture Jimmy Cagney as a gangster: "saaay, you dirty rat. . ." Hey, don't laugh. Do you drop the R in gangster or whore and think it makes you hip? Tell the truth, white boy.
Perhaps you've observed the phenomenon in the way we use the word "selfie" with gleeful ostentation -- the way my dog runs up and down the hall with a stolen sock. "I'm using it! I'm saying Selfie!" It's the word, not the picture. The very first pictures taken were self portraits. But try to find a CNN.com home page in the last year or so that doesn't display the word and a list of the week's best selfies. Haven't you been trying to work it into your conversations so that people will know you're no outsider to the hip world, the hip-hop world, the world of constant contact, constant entertainment and Cell Phones -- the real world, that is?
The real world, not that stuffy world where the discomfiture of Napoleon at Waterloo sounds like his boots were pinching his toes and not that he was routed. We don't want you reading that slop anyway when the interests of this or that special interest group are what matters. We will tell you how to think about the very, very rich by proclamation, by definition, by calling them either plutocrats or "job creators." We'll tell you whether you're a racist, an antisemite, a Communist, misogynist or a fascist by fiddling with the terms. And they do tell me. I've been chastised recently for calling one of those conical straw hats a 'coolie' hat. Perhaps in India, Hindi speakers are racists for calling day laborers coolies, the Hindi word for it or perhaps not. Perhaps Joe Biden is a racist for using the word Orient to describe Singapore, perhaps not. It all depends on what and to whom we're selling and to what purpose and not on the feelings or intentions of the user. After all, we're the police and we'll tell you what you are, punk.
I digress. My intention was to point out that there is a fairly sudden and fairly recent tendency to start sentences with "so." So I'm just pointing it out, and perhaps you'll notice it too. So perhaps your grandchildren will, if it persists, giggle about the dated idiom: "so I'm like" instead of "I said" So have you noticed? So I'm just sayin'. Language gotta change and so everything you say will mean something else by Thursday next and everything you write down will be laughed at or called communist or fascist or something else depending on what the language police are yelling about.
So there he goes again, old Fogg, harping on the way language changes and spitting in the eye of the "language gotta change" school of English that encourages you to ignore and accept in the same way as one might encourage another not to get out of bed in the morning -- because after all, "people gotta die."
People like me: people who love language and the freedom available to those who master it are not appreciated by the "lets let the dog choose what we have for dinner" school of rhetoric and perhaps it's because such arguments feed the dogs of commerce, propaganda and mind control. Those who control definitions control minds. So isn't it strange that the people who sneer at "language police" will beat you as senseless as Rodney King if you question the definitions of words like sex and gender? So isn't it strange that we can sternly be told that making a joke about Chinese speakers not being able to pronounce the letter R is racist as though speaking Chinese made one Chinese? The language actually uses a harder R than American English, but that's beside the point. Not strange when you consider the goal of defining nearly everything as racism in order to bully the populace into supporting your fight against racism.
So is it that precise language, as Orwell told us, is the enemy of verbal manipulation?