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 Message Boards » » Southern slang "that ____" Page [1]  
Jaybee1200
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Anyone know why some people here in the South use the term "that" in front of a lot of things? Like "that new Star Wars is making a lot of money" or "that OBama..."

My dad is dating a woman and she is southern as hell, like Gomer Pyle country, and she uses the term ALL the time. But he is pretty damn country as well, from lower Alabama, and my mom was southern as well, and neither of them ever say it, but they were both highly educated (both got their Masters).

It's almost like she uses it to denote something as "not established" in her eyes. If something has been around her a long time, and she knows it has a permanent worth or value or purpose then she just says it at normal. But if something is "weird" (to her) or new then it hasnt earned its full name, if that makes sense. Like she would never say "I ate that sausage biscuit" at Chick-Fil-A, but she would would definitely say "I had that croissant" at Panera Bread

Any of you use the term or have family that does? Any ideas on what makes something qualify as "that" worthy? Unfamiliarity?

1/8/2016 10:56:12 AM

FroshKiller
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I'm your boy for this.

I'm familiar with the usage you're describing, but there is also a usage with positive connotation. You can use it as an intensifier when something really stands out, is excellent. "I went to Bojangles' and had that Cajun Filet, boy!"

For negative connotation, I think the idea is to call attention to the subject you're disparaging. If the subject is present at the time, it's usually accompanied by a head nod in the subject's direction or sometimes even a pointed finger. "I caught 'em in the backseat of that car last night," for example, when both people speaking know very well what car--it's their car, it might be their only car. And the interesting thing about that is that the negative feeling is being projected onto the car rather than the teenagers caught in it! Like it underscores their disapproval, as if to say that the kids were so bad that it rubbed off on the car itself.

1/8/2016 11:25:16 AM

Jaybee1200
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oh yeah, she definitely uses it for positive things too, as well as totally neutral things. I just always picture her in the 50s, with a banjo, sitting on a porch talking about "that rock and roll"

1/8/2016 11:27:43 AM

FroshKiller
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Unfamiliarity seems to be part of it, for sure. The idea there I think is to communicate that you are new to the topic as a hint to the person you're speaking to.

"I went to see The Force Awakens," you say, having never seen a Star Wars movie.

"Cool," your friend says. "So do you think Snoke is Plagueis or what?"

This is not a good conversation. However:

"I went to see that The Force Awakens," you say.

"Oh," your friend says. "Do you like Star Wars? Have you seen them all?"

1/8/2016 11:30:36 AM

dgspencer
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I've heard it used when something new is tried and they don't want to be seen as "uppity", it's almost a question within a statement.

For example, "that" person: I had the croissant at Panera, other person: Ohhhh aren't you fancy?

As opposed to , "that" person: I had that new croissant at Panera (translation, I had it, have you had a chance to try it/know what i'm talking about?), other person: Oh interesting, how was that croissant at Panera?

1/8/2016 11:31:47 AM

Jaybee1200
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^^ haha, I can see that, but knowing her, that is giving her too much credit. Super nice woman, but not the brightest light in the hallway.

^ I think that may be it in her case.


Oh, and she also still calls Atlanta "Hotlanta" whenever they come to visit

1/8/2016 11:35:47 AM

dtownral
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Quote :
"I've heard it used when something new is tried and they don't want to be seen as "uppity", it's almost a question within a statement.

For example, "that" person: I had the croissant at Panera, other person: Ohhhh aren't you fancy?

As opposed to , "that" person: I had that new croissant at Panera (translation, I had it, have you had a chance to try it/know what i'm talking about?), other person: Oh interesting, how was that croissant at Panera?"


this is how i'm familiar with it, it's sometimes even followed with "newfangled" or something similar

1/8/2016 2:50:23 PM

dmspack
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it seems like it puts more emphasis on the thing (following "that"). that emphasis can indicate a lack of familiarity with the thing, like jaybee mentioned....among other things as well. i've heard it to express dislike for the word following "that" as well.

kinda hard to describe, i guess. i never thought about it before this thread, but i do say it too.

1/8/2016 6:36:43 PM

The E Man
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that ASS

1/9/2016 7:21:50 PM

krallum2016
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http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/that
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slang

1/11/2016 1:36:46 PM

wdprice3
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that's dumb

1/11/2016 2:48:27 PM

GrumpyGOP
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So I have a half-cocked theory about this, because I noticed that people in Benin did the exact same thing. Slaves contributed a lot to the southern dialect and mannerisms, because even the rich white children were around slaves all the time and picked it up. An awful lot of slaves came from Benin ("The Slave Coast"). So I'm thinking, we got it from them.

Where they got it from, no idea. I assume voodoo python god.

1/14/2016 3:08:45 PM

willembahh
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My dad's girlfriend put 'that' in front of anyones name if shes talking about them. She also never drives more than 10 under the speed limit so...

1/14/2016 7:16:30 PM

BanjoMan
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yeah, so even though I kind of lost my drawl a bit as I became an adult and spent a bunch of time at the university, I still say things like this all of the time.

1/16/2016 9:56:10 AM

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