"I loves me some X" redux

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jul 23 18:29:18 UTC 2002

At 10:27 PM -0400 7/22/02, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>On a bulletin board I subscribe to, a woman in her 30s posted
>the following, in reference to children's books:
>   it must be so cool when your kids reach an age where you can read and
>   enjoy some of the same books. not that i don't loves me some _very hungry
>   caterpiller,_ mind you, but y'know what i mean.
>[_The Very Hungry Caterpiller_ is a classic young-children's book.]
>I told her I had heard it a few times recently, and asked her if it
>has any special associations or origins that she knew of; she replied:
>   the first time i heard someone use that expression was back when i was in
>   high school, visiting my uncle in georgia. i assumed it was a southern
>   thing; a lower class southern thing, specifically. i've heard it a bunch
>   since then, mostly being said by southerners, but also by non-southerners
>   and/or more educated people who were using it ironically.

I found a number of "I (just) love me some X" on the web, after
hearing Jack on "Will and Grace" use it.   My interest stemmed from
the fact that (as Dannenberg & Webelhuth have observed) the "personal
dative" or "Southern double object" construction is used only when
the "real" object (not the one represented by the co-referential
non-reflexive pronoun) is quantified:

I'm gonna buy me {a new pick-up/some baseball caps/*baseball caps}.

What's interesting about these proper name cases is the appearance of
"some" that seems to be there just to satisfy the constraint.  Or is
there a difference in meaning--does the "some" really bring in
partitivity or something else?

More recently, watching a video, I came across a third person use:
My husband used to *love* him some Jack Daniels.

--Leticia (Halle Berry's character) to Hank (Billy Bob Thornton's character)
in Monster's Ball.
Leticia is both southern (black) and lower-class, and I'd guess that
a number of the postings are from southerners, but I have no idea
about class, really, especially for Grace, that peeing cat.  I must
say, the trailer park entry and the one about Old Cletus are pretty
suggestive (at least of how this construction is conceptualized).
The non-reflexive in this position (especially with single-object
verbs like "love") is much more frequent in southern speech, although
in first person it's not quite as much of a diagnostic as it would be
in third person.  I include them here for possible interest.  (I just
went with the standard agreement and didn't check on "loves me some",
but I'll be happy to.)


I just love me some Jerry Springer. I don't know why so many people
are trying to "Clean up" his act. Don't they know half the people in
the world act this way?

I just love me some cats! Don't you just LOVe cats?!
Grace keeps to herself these days.  And her crime of the month is to
pee in my big house plant.  "I love me some plants.  The green sets
off my beauty.  And the soil is just right for a little wee."

Favorite Actresses: Drew Bareymore, Jennifer Garner (just love me
some ALIAS!), Meg Ryan (not with Russell Crowe though)

In fact, I just read the first of the Kat Colorado series, which my
beloved Moira sent me for my birthday. I just love me some female
kick-ass detectives, and when the hell is Sue Grafton going to put
the next one out?

IŠwas so glad to see to see Denzel Washington win for his potrayal of
Rubin Carter in The Hurricane that I whooped out loud. I did, I did.
I guess I just love me some Denzel.

Anyway, back to Christmas.........long about this time Cletus
Henderson , Bovina's daddy,came out of the kitchen and yelled
"Dinner's ready, Y'all come on and eayt." Old Cletus always did cook
up a mean old meal. "I gots some cornbread, some oyster stew, and
roast Coon with cheese." Ahhhhh, there ain't nothin that goes better
as Christmas dinner than Coon and Cheese. Umm, ummm. I just love me
some Coon and Cheese.

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