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“I’ll Tell You What”

Posted by Amy in General

I have always been fascinated by the words and phrases people use.   Now I could go all techinical on you all and tell you about how when I was getting my bachelors I took a general linguistics class that was required by my “concentration” (or what normal people call minors) and ended up loving the class so much I took the next level  Then I would tell you that I was always especially interested in the sociolinguistic aspects of language which studies the effect of society and culture on language and pragmatics.  I won’t go into that more than what I just did because it would probably make about 98% of my readers turn away and think DAMN SHE IS A NERD which I totally am but that is beside the point.

How people pick up certain phrases and then continue to use them fascinates me.  For instance using myself as an example…I pick up dialects very easily.  When I am around my family from the south- I pick up a southern accent and throw out the “yall” phrase a lot.  It drives my mom bonkers when I do this and she will often tell me I sound like a country bumpkin. My mom originally hails from New Jersey and while she doesn’t have an accent to my tender Californian ears she does occassionally slip and will say something like “caw” instead of “car”  and gets mad when I point out these “slips.” They rather embarrass her for some reason.  Another good example is the phrase “I got this” (as in don’t worry about it-I will take care of it…I got this or I got it)…that is something my brother says a lot and I have picked up from him.

Anyway, fairly recently I picked up “I’ll tell you what” and “I’m telling you” in my vocabulary. I don’t have the faintest where they come from.  I have found myself saying them and then when I am right in the middle of saying what ever it is I am going to say I will think to myself, THERE I GO AGAIN! WHAT IS WITH THAT?, which in turn distracts me from what I was saying, so I will end up with “I’m telling you…” with a large gap where I have yet to finish my thought. If I happen to be speaking to my mom she will then snap at me “FINISH THE THOUGHT” because that is something I do to her because she will start a story get distracted and then not finish telling me what she was originally going to say.

I have been paying extra attention to people I am around, even tv shows I watch and they don’t seem to be from any of those sources.  It is driving me crazy. Where did I pick that up from??

Do you ever say things and wonder where you picked them up from or am I the only nut?

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4 Responses

  • Andrea says:

    My father-in-law begins every sentence with, “Well, alls I know is…”

    I dread the day that creeps into my speech.

  • Janet says:

    I’m tellin’ you, I saw that ALL the time LOL!

  • “I’m tellin’ you” is quite popular up here. Maine comedian Bob Marley even mentions it in his shtick. I too took linguistics in college (as did Susan), and LOVED it! I’ve also been known to pick up phrases, and then beat them to death! A few months ago, every other thing I said was “Rock on!” Please! How dumb is that for a 36 year old man to be spouting that off all the time? I think I’ve outgrown it now.

  • Lisa says:

    My boss is always saying “The fact of the matter is…” It drives me nuts. She used it twice this morning in a phone call to me.



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