Sunday, October 19, 2008

Safire on Palin's 'you betcha'

We've clearly lost claim to being the go-to blog for Sarah Palin's language — the blizzard of posts on the Log leave us in a daze. And that's cool: The Log is a big team of active bloggers. We're getting semi-regular posts now from a set of Team Verb members (and thanks to all of you), but it'll be a year or two before some of our most outspoken colleagues will have time and opportunity to post a lot, so we remain a little operation for the moment. Besides, everybody has a Palin shtick these days.

But now Safire is jumping on the topic?!?!? He's mostly pretty harmless at the moment, devoting his time to political words and turns of phrase, but has a thing on verbal tics today. What does he actually mean by this?
Sarah Palin’s repeated Americanism does not qualify as a verbal tic because she uses it consciously, along with a deliberate, nonspasmodic wink. Now that it has been widely called to her attention, is she likely to continue to use it? “You betcha!
You betcha is a signature line for her, but it turns up a lot more in parodies than in her speech. She's used it once in the VP debate, for example, with two hecks and two darns.


Ben Zimmer said...

Palin used "you betcha" self-parodyingly at the end of her appearance on SNL Weekend Update.

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, surely AFTER Safire had handed off his column. (Was probably up on the website by then, right?)