"Thaaat's what I'm talking about!"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 28 02:25:59 UTC 2011

FWIW, that "Master B.B." should be using this phrase strikes me as
lamely anachronistic. It wasn't cool in any particular sense, back in
his/my day. When I chat with my friends and relatives, I don't ask
them to "holler back" or any such. Back when, "holler at me, holler
back," etc. was what your mother used in talking with her sissies
[read: "buddies"; that's sexist language for you;-)]. An adolescent
male wouldn't been caught dead talking like his mother! At best, I'd
sound pswaydo-hip, using such language. (Sigh! Now I understand why my
grandparents, born in the last quarter of the 19th C., went to their
graves refusing to call a bicycle anything except a "wheel.")

In like manner, what's Master B.B. doing, talking like his
grandfather? Unreal! He should say, e,g,,

"Well, if you feel that way, then you go 'head on, then, girl!"

Not only would that be the natural response for a colored gentleman of
his years, but his use of it in a ubiquitous commercial might even
have served to re-hippenize it.


--Â -Wilson-----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.-Mark Twain

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 9:13 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: "Thaaat's what I'm talking about!"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Oct 27, 2011, at 8:47 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 6:32 PM, Jonathan Lighter
>> <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hardly the same.
>>> The "Jaws" ex. means, "(Can't you see) that's what I'm talking about?!"
>>> B.B. King says "Thaat's what I'm talking about!" in response to the
>>> guitar-playing and blood-sugar testing of  of Crystal Bowersox. He
>>> thinks both are great.
>> In the idiomatic version that we're, uh, talking about, sentence
>> stress is (I think) typically on the first word: "THAT'S what I'm
>> talking about." Rather like "THAT'S the ticket" or "THAT'S the stuff."
>> --bgz
> Or in reduced form as in "ATTaboy!", I assume < "THAT'S the boy"
> LH
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