Only One "You Betcha" in Going Rogue

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 18 2009 1:23 PM

Only One "You Betcha" in Going Rogue

Daniel Engber Daniel Engber

Daniel Engber is a columnist for Slate

On Monday, we wondered


would make it into her new memoir,

Going Rogue

. In particular, how many times would "You betcha!" appear in print?



staffer Christopher Beam

, and reports just one instance of the famous phrase. On page 309, the author reminisces about the anxious hours before her appearance on

Saturday Night Live

in the fall of 2008. Not having seen the script for the show, she and her entourage decided to make their own comedy pitches:

"What about a skit where I pretended to be a journalist and asked Tina condescending questions: 'What do you use for newspapers up in Alaska—tree bark?' 'What happens if the moose were given guns? It wouldn't be so easy then, eh?' 'Is "you betcha" your state motto?' We sent our ideas up the line, and somebody smacked 'em down."

You'll recall that a

recently studied the

and concluded that she uses the words




at least 20 times more often than other people in comparable settings. Do those figures hold up in the new book? A bit of noodling with Amazon's "

" feature reveals at least four uses of


(e.g., "He agreed to give up chew for a day. That was a big darn deal") and six of


(e.g.,  "I felt guilty as heck").

Given that the book contains about 130,000 words, the




rates are, respectively, 30.8 and 46.1 per million words. The linguists cite comparable

of 3.2 and 7.4. Even in print, Palin applies these folksy expressions far more often than other people.


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