You what me?
February 1, 2012 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Is "I appreciate you!" (as said to a waitress, for instance) heard outside Tennessee?

A few years ago I was eating at an informal restaurant with a gentleman visiting from Eastern TN, and when the waitress brought his food or drink, where I'd say "Thanks" he'd say, "I appreciate you." To my midwestern ears, it sounded unusual enough that I plainly remember these exchanges (although it is not uncommon to hear something like "I appreciate you doing the dishes!" here.)

Now I've heard the same thing on a radio program broadcast from Nashville, less than 200 miles from where my then-dining partner lives (the DJ appreciated me, the listener.)

I have asked friends who grew up in SC and FL whether they have heard it, and neither had. Neither have any locals I've asked here (NE).

Is this a Tennesseeism, or is it heard elsewhere?
posted by fritley to Writing & Language (73 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I grew up in Atlanta, GA, and we never said that/I never heard it.
posted by Betty's Table at 12:18 PM on February 1, 2012


Single data point: I grew up in (and live) in Montana, and I've never heard that.
posted by jcreigh at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2012


If you say it loud enough.

No, that sounds odd to me as well. (About a decade apiece in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and the Upper Midwest).
posted by gauche at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never heard it in New England, New York (City) or the lower Midwest. (Or anywhere else, for that matter, but those are places I've lived.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:20 PM on February 1, 2012


Grew up in NYC, never heard it before.
posted by griphus at 12:21 PM on February 1, 2012


No to California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
posted by mykescipark at 12:22 PM on February 1, 2012


Never heard it in MD/DC/VA or in the Finger Lakes.

I've randomly heard "I appreciate it" as a thank-you variant but not "I appreciate you."
posted by headnsouth at 12:23 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think that your hearing two people from Tennessee say something is enough to draw a conclusion that it's actually a common usage in Tennessee. I've never heard it there, and I've visited Tennessee frequently and have two close friends from Tennessee.

I think it's a sweet but idiosyncratic usage.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know someone who says it all the time, but he originally hails from KY. I don't notice anyone else in (beautiful) Middle TN saying it.
posted by jquinby at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm pretty sure I've run across this usage outside of Tennessee, but it's not working very well in my mind to pin it down, and I have relatives from TN, so maybe my brain is giving me false positives...
posted by brennen at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2012


I lived in Arkansas for a while, and "appreciate ya" was a common replacement for "thank ya" No where else in the other 4-5 states (including Texas) where I've lived.
posted by defenestrated at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2012


"I appreciate it" wouldn't sound odd to my ears, but "I appreciate you" I've never heard before. Ohioan here.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:26 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Data Point: I'm from West Tennessee (Memphis) and this is something my family says *all the time*. Though, it comes out more like " 'preciate ya. "
posted by absalom at 12:26 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've been all over the US and have never heard anyone say that in such a casual setting. I went a Googlin and started hitting some Christian websites within a few pages. Might have some particular religious undertones (certain denomination, etc.)?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in the Boston area, and I've been hearing it sometimes instead of "thanks."
posted by kinetic at 12:29 PM on February 1, 2012


Northern Alabama/Southern Alabama hybrid here, and basically what absalom said. Further, I've waited tables alot and I never heard it said to me by a table.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:29 PM on February 1, 2012


Just heard of this for the first time (as "appreciate ya") as a Utah thing yesterday.

Cursory Google search indicates that it has been observed in Florida as well.
posted by beryllium at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2012


In KY. Hear both "'preciate ya" and "'preciate it" pretty often.
posted by pecanpies at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


anecdata...I also work in a residential program for teen girls with mental disorders, and it's said a lot here as well. But I have noticed recently it being used at the grocery store and the library.
posted by kinetic at 12:32 PM on February 1, 2012


Both sides of my family are from West Tennessee. My dad's family says it ALL THE TIME to family and friends. My mother's side never says it. They grew up 20 miles apart.
posted by mochapickle at 12:36 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Never heard it in NYC, New England, or any of the elderly jew zones of Florida.
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm from Tennessee, and while I don't think I've said it to a waitress, I'll often say things to friends or family like "I appreciate you stopping by the grocery to pick up some limes" or "I appreciate that you folded all those clean towels."
posted by mostlymartha at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2012


Concur on not hearing it in DC/MD/VA, nor in Baltimore either -- though you will get called "hon" a lot, at least by the older white waitresses.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:43 PM on February 1, 2012


I appreciate it (or 'preciate it) would sound fine to my North Carolinian ears, as would "I appreciate you (doing whatever it was you did for me). Just "I appreciate you," would ring somewhat oddly.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2012


Raised in Florida, and I hear it occasionally but it rings of the "deeper" South to me.

"I appreciate it" is completely neutral and I hear that all the time. "I appreciate you" (or more likely just "appreciate you") feels like an older Southernism, but yeah I still hear it.
posted by penduluum at 12:51 PM on February 1, 2012


Born in West TN, grew up in East TN, and lived in Middle TN, now in NYC. I hear in with some regularity when I'm back in TN, although like other posters, its more often "preciate it" than "preciate ya" that pecanpies mentions above. My grandfather (lived his whole life in West TN and MS) said it regularly. And now that I think about it, I probably say it occasionally, although I don't think I've ever hear it in NYC.

This is right in line with the deep Southern usage of "proud", as in "I sure am proud you came to see me". I hear this from all my relatives over 75 in Tennessee.
posted by kimdog at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I appreciate it" or "I appreciate your doing {x}" is pretty common usage everywhere. "Would you get me an extra plate so we can split the entree? Thanks. I appreciate it" is perfectly cromulent New Englandese.

I am intrigued and delighted to hear that "I appreciate you" rather than "Thank you" actually is a usage in certain places. I guess I just spend too much time in the Nashville area and need to get out into the Tennessee Appreciation Zones.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:07 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting question. As an anecdote, I know a Japanese person who learned most of her English while living in the south, before moving to Michigan where I live. She used to say "I appreciate you" a lot. After a while, I corrected her, saying that "I appreciate you" sounds weird in most situations, and "I appreciate it" would be a more normal thing to say. That's certainly the way I feel about the phrase, and I assumed my feelings were pretty universal. But after reading your question, I wonder if the phrase was common where she used to live and it's just weird in my region.
posted by Vorteks at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2012


I live in Houston and hear "'preciate ya" all the time. In court even.
posted by *s at 1:11 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I heard this all the time in Birmingham, but mostly guys 15-20 years older than me (65 and up) that I would guess were attorney/businessmen/Rotary types. I have a cousin from Knoxville/Maryville that says it all the time, too. It's just different enough to throw you off kilter a little, so it's memorable. But not in a bad way.

They would also say things like, "thank you, please," and "vice reverse," instead of what I would consider normal usage.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2012


Seconding ' 'preciate you '. hear it in Detroit a fair amount.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 1:21 PM on February 1, 2012


Raised in East TN, live in Middle TN. I heard it growing up in the " 'preciate ya!" way all the time, but it doesn't seem as common outside of Knoxville and surrounding areas.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:22 PM on February 1, 2012


Never heard it in NYC, and would be lookin' over my shoulder if I did.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:23 PM on February 1, 2012


mostlymartha: "I'm from Tennessee, and while I don't think I've said it to a waitress, I'll often say things to friends or family like "I appreciate you stopping by the grocery to pick up some limes" or "I appreciate that you folded all those clean towels.""

I can confirm that this is very common usage in East Tennessee. It usually sounds like "'Preeshiate cha." I have never heard it elsewhere.
posted by workerant at 1:26 PM on February 1, 2012


I hear it occasionally in North Texas. I think it's pretty weird and somehow creepy. I guess it seems like a forced attempt at being more personal than warranted.
posted by cmoj at 1:27 PM on February 1, 2012


I grew up hearing "I appreciate it," smushed together and enunciated in a Southern accent to sound more like "preeshaydit." It definitely a Southernism to my ears. Very few Northeasterners say that interchangeably with "thanks," in my experience.

Then again, I have little experience with Midwestern speakers, so maybe they say it too?

I've never specifically heard "I appreciate you", but maybe in that smushed Southern way I've heard "preeshaycha" and it never really registered with me.
posted by Sara C. at 1:27 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm in Texas and occasionally hear it ... in particular a former boss who reduced it to "'preciate you".
posted by Allee Katze at 1:29 PM on February 1, 2012


I agree with workerant down to the spelling! I hear it a lot in East Tennessee and use it when it seems appropriate.
posted by Mouse Army at 1:32 PM on February 1, 2012


I live in the Atlanta suburbs, and I hear it occasionally.
posted by deadmessenger at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2012


Oh my goodness. Yes.

I used to work at an autobank (a bank with a little building in the parking lot so that people could drive up and do transactions). Every morning, like clockwork, a man would drive through with his nightly business deposit. He was always friendly, and at the end of the transaction he'd say 'Thank you! 'Preciate you!"

We called him Mr. 'Preciation.

This was in Minnesota. Never heard it before, never heard it again.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:35 PM on February 1, 2012


My ex-girlfriend said this quite a bit, which never really stood out to me as notable until now. She was raised in Houston, and we were both living in Nashville at the time.

So I don't know if it's a Texas thing or a Tennessee thing, but I can confirm that it's a thing.
posted by sportbucket at 1:36 PM on February 1, 2012


Nth-ing that " 'Preciate ya!" is a thing in Texas.
posted by donajo at 1:46 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hear it a lot in Houston too. It might be coincidence, but I've heard it frequently from people I know to be Southern Baptists.
posted by uberfunk at 1:50 PM on February 1, 2012


Yes! I had an internship in central Kentucky where I essentially worked as a visitor greeter /interpretive guide for a historical site. I had a lot of people say this to me after I had given a tour, and - coming from New York where nobody says this - it took me really off guard the first couple of times I heard it. I actually thought it might of been either a weird pick up line, or some type of derision.

Also, this easily sounds like something Chris Traeger would say. I LITrally appreciate you.
posted by oxfordcomma at 1:58 PM on February 1, 2012


I live in Houston and I think I have never heard this thing we're talking about! Then again, I mostly run with gays and nerds, so I think my demographic is probably not tilted toward this usage.
posted by jph at 2:04 PM on February 1, 2012


I think it's odd that people think it sounds stilted, although I agree "I appreciate you" sounds almost robotic, I assure you, with the proper vernacular it's absolutely natural.

Also, I think it makes as much, or more, sense as "appreciate it." Think about it.

1. appreciate it = I appreciate that you have done this task for me / I appreciate having this thing done.

2. appreciate ya = I appreciate the kind of person you are, who is willing to do something for me.
posted by absalom at 2:05 PM on February 1, 2012


Yep, pretty common around Austin. Not ever too emphatic - usually sounds like "'preciate cha." or, if the accent's thicker, ""pershate cha."
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:12 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never heard "I appreciate you" in central Oklahoma or Kansas. If it traveled from Arkansas to Texas via eastern Oklahoma, though (as opposed to through Louisiana), I wouldn't know about it. There's a lot of open road between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

I've heard "appreciate it" a lot and plenty of "I appreciate you looking after the kids" or "I appreciate you taking the time," or some other thing you're doing, but that's standard, right? Or is that a regionalism too?
posted by Adventurer at 2:18 PM on February 1, 2012


I've heard "appreciate it" a lot and plenty of "I appreciate you looking after the kids" or "I appreciate you taking the time," or some other thing you're doing, but that's standard, right? Or is that a regionalism too?

It seems to be pretty standard usage all over the US.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:21 PM on February 1, 2012


Older people and country-ish Baptists said it around the Houston area when I was growing up ('70s-'80s).
posted by batmonkey at 2:52 PM on February 1, 2012


Yep, pretty common around Austin. Not ever too emphatic - usually sounds like "'preciate cha." or, if the accent's thicker, ""pershate cha."

Weird, I've never heard anyone in Austin say this.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:20 PM on February 1, 2012


It's not an everyday thing, but I've heard it quite a bit. Maybe more from country-types. You're more likely to hear it at Callahan's General Store than at Flightpath Coffee House.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2012


I live in Little Rock, and I hear it a lot. I've also heard it in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.
posted by box at 3:39 PM on February 1, 2012


I have heard it a lot lately in western North Carolina. I never noticed it before the last year or two, though, which may mean that a) it's been going on forever and I just missed it or b) it's moving east from Tennessee or Texas. 'Preciate ya! I work retail and so I hear it a lot; it's the kind of thing people seem to say to shop clerks. I don't like it for some reason - it puts my back up immediately and I couldn't really tell you why, except that thank you is a perfectly adequate response and I always think, you don't. You don't appreciate me; you don't even know me.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:55 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


grew up in arkansas, spent a decade in texas - used and heard 'preciate you constantly. i know it's considered weird because i've had a number of friends from non-texas/arkansas grill me about it and act like i was a freak, then they'd hear someone in my family say it and they'd finally believe i didn't straight make it up.

same goes for cool beans. i also find that "d'jwant-to" and "'preciate cha" are used by a lot of the same people.

i don't hear it so much in oklahoma and i never head it in washington or oregon unless i was the one saying it.
posted by nadawi at 4:15 PM on February 1, 2012


Same as workerant. "'Preeshiate cha", from the Eastern TN, Western VA area. And the person who comes to mind the most is a Southern Baptist preacher and other old folk and religious types. The same ones that call everybody Brother or Sister.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:15 PM on February 1, 2012


oh, if it matters - that's northwest arkansas and north texas. also, my family is mormon (so that might also link it to the utah thing).
posted by nadawi at 4:19 PM on February 1, 2012


Lifelong Tennesseean here. I hear it and say it all the time here in Memphis.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:32 PM on February 1, 2012


Another vote for hearing it all the time growing up in Kentucky (near the Tennessee border). "Pree-shate-cha!" I've only heard it on rare occasion living in Austin, Texas, and the only people I have heard say it here have been from West Texas.
posted by pogo at 4:47 PM on February 1, 2012


How funny. I never realized this was a local thing. I grew up in Memphis and certainly remember "Preeshee-aitcha!" as a way of expressing thanks, often in the context of taking leave.
posted by notquitemaryann at 5:13 PM on February 1, 2012


I live in Chattanooga and hear this every single day. I've been in the south 21 years now, so it sounds less unusual to my ears, and as notquitemaryann and pogo noted, it really does often sound more like preeshee-aitcha, pree-shate-cha or even preeshee-eight-ya. I don't recall hearing it when I lived in Georgia, and certainly I never heard it for the first half of my life, in New York.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 5:25 PM on February 1, 2012


i say "i appreciate you". born in CT, then spent a decade in TX. not sure when i started.
posted by radiosilents at 6:08 PM on February 1, 2012


I never heard this before moving to Atlanta nearly 7 years ago. Now I hear it often, including today.
posted by southern_sky at 6:13 PM on February 1, 2012


Thank you all! I think I could draw up a map now. I think I marked all the "yeah all the time!" answers for posterity.

I am also inexplicably happy to learn about the "proud" usage, which is also new to me, and Elly, I love your story. (I was a teller in a previous life too!)
posted by fritley at 6:15 PM on February 1, 2012


I lived in Providence, Rhode Island for five years, and I heard 'preciate it and 'preciate ya quite often, but never I appreciate you. I always parsed 'preciate ya as [I] appreciate your [help].
posted by Kattullus at 7:27 PM on February 1, 2012


Austin, TX, learned this from a waitress while I was a busser. "Preciate y'all!", even to just one person.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 8:35 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep, pretty common around Austin. Not ever too emphatic - usually sounds like "'preciate cha." or, if the accent's thicker, ""pershate cha."


Immortalized in Stan Freeberg's rendition of Yellow Rose of Texas (around 1:10)
posted by jquinby at 6:26 AM on February 2, 2012


Austin, Texas -- I hear "appreciate you" occasionally.
posted by seventyfour at 7:05 AM on February 2, 2012


I live in Nashville, and I hear "'preciate cha!" fairly frequently, although I think for some reason it might be more of an East Tennessee thing. If I think the phrase in my mind, it sounds like Dolly Parton's saying it.
posted by zoetrope at 1:01 PM on February 2, 2012


I just saw a stand up comedian wrap up his set with "Presheeate ya" and thought about this thread. He lives in Atlanta but I think is form the Detroit/Chicago area.
posted by jessamyn at 7:23 PM on February 2, 2012


I'm late answering but! I live in Atlanta, and we say "preeshate-cha" ALL THE TIME, so much so that my sister and I just tell each other, "preesh" instead of thank you.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 6:39 AM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Data point, hot off the presses! I work in a phone bank, doing customer service-type stuff. I just got off the phone with a guy in Tyler, Texas (that's East Texas) who wrapped up the call with "I appreciate you." instead of thank you. Fairly well-enunciated, more than just "preeshiateya"
posted by mreleganza at 1:09 PM on February 28, 2012


FYI, Barack Obama signed off from his Bill Simmons interview with "Preciate ya." 24:35 mark of this podcast.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 4:59 PM on March 3, 2012


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