"you love yourself some me"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 17 18:36:00 UTC 2008

"You love yourself some me" and "I love myself some him ... some
Randy" look like pswadosemi-hypercorrections made under the pressure
of standard English to me. "I love me some him" sounds totally
natural. Cf. "I'm eating me some potato chips"; "I laid down last
night, thinkin' about me a mojo hand," and multitudinous others that I
could quote, as those cited, or make up.

It's not always possible for a BE speaker to know what's standard and
what's not. I long had the impression that sentences like, "She's so
mean and evil that can't _nobody_ stay with her" became fully standard
when rephrased as "She's so mean and evil that can't _anybody_ stay
with her." The latter sentence was spoken by my mother, whom I've
always considered to be an sE / upper-middle-class BE speaker with an
East-Texas accent. When we were kids, she always made a point of
disabusing us of Southernisms. E.g., she made us stop calling her
"Mother Dear," even though we pronounced it after the Saint Louis sE
fashion and not as the Southern "Mud DEEa" and start calling her

BTW, there's a series of neo-blaxploitation movies featuring an older,
black, female character named "Madea"[sic], clearly punning on the
Southern pronunciation of "Mother Dear," which pronunciation is (was?)
commonly used, together with "Big Mama" for "Grandmother," as far
North as Saint Louis.

FWIW, back in the day, at least, "mother dear" pretty much replaced
"mother" in colloquial BE in the South. Someone might ask, "How is
your mother dear?" A blues line says, "I looked at my mother dear and
I didn't even crack a smile." In a case like this, "mother dear" is
(was?) fully pronounced as ['m^D@ "di@] and not as [m^d 'di@], which
is (was?) used only as a vocative, though a child might say "[m^d
'di@] say you better get in this house" to a sibling.


On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 10:57 PM, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>  Subject:      "you love yourself some me"
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  A line from Mariah Carey's "For The Record", from her new album "E=MC2":
>    The whole entire world can tell
>    That you love yourself some me.
>  This perhaps alludes to Toni Braxton's 2003 song "I Love Me Some Him",
>  discussed a couple of years ago by Larry Horn:
>  http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0502d&L=ads-l&P=15845
>  But Mariah opts for a reflexive pronoun in her personal dative, which is far
>  less typical.
>  The song lyric came to my attention from catching part of tonight's
>  "American Idol". Mariah, after singing a guest performance, tells judge
>  Randy Jackson (her erstwhile musical director), "The whole entire world can
>  tell that I love myself some him... some Randy," which she then identifies
>  as a line from her new album. So in that transposed version it sounds even
>  more like the Toni Braxton line, except with reflexive marking.
>  --Ben Zimmer
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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