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"Do What?"

A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).

"Do What?"

Postby Lee » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:28 pm

In Texas (and most of the South) I hear people ask: "do what?" when they wish someone to repeat what was just said (regardless of whether they think they were ask to "do something or not)... is this common elsewhere?

Another pet peeve is when people say "I could care less" ... when what they really mean is " I could not care less".

I am eager to hear your comments.

Lee
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Postby Bailey » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:33 pm

I say that, no telling where I picked it up.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:41 pm

It reminds me of the Mexican mande, which I found quite odd when I first heard it. Mande (send) you what?

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Postby AdoAnnie » Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:54 pm

"Do What?" can be a request to repeat spoken words, but where I am from, Texas Gulf Coast, the phrase is much more often used to express unexpected negative reaction to something that has been heard, seen or read.

As in:
Note on Bulletin Board
As of next week all workers will be expected to skip lunch and work through their breaks without compensation.

Reader's reaction with shocked facial expression and body language with a voice tone of utter disbelief

"Do WHAT?!?!?"
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Postby tcward » Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:59 pm

The Colombian who works in my office often uses the expression "¿Cómo?"... which I have imagined, each time I hear it, as his way of saying "What?", although I know it isn't the meaning of the word...

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:03 pm

Yeah, I think ¿Cómo? is universally used. In Portuguese we also say Como?. It literally translates as how.

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Postby tcward » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:09 pm

LOL... I guess "How?" is closer to "Huh?" than it is to "What?"

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Postby Perry » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:40 pm

"Do what?" is just as often "huh? as it is "say again". Another form of "do what" is "come again", where the meaning is always "say that again".

I think that there is a nuance in the difference between "I could care less" and "I couldn't care less". The former implies that it would be possible to care less, but it isn't worth the effort of trying to care less. The later is less sarcastic and more emphatically absolute.

In the North, "I don't care to do _______", intends to convey a dislike for whatever that action is. In the South (at least in Western North Carolina) the same phrase is used to say that "it wouldn't bother me if I had to do _____".
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Re: "Do What?"

Postby Stargzer » Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:15 pm

Lee wrote: . . .
Another pet peeve is when people say "I could care less" ... when what they really mean is " I could not care less".

I am eager to hear your comments.

Lee


They could care less if they cared enough to put in the effort to do so . . . 8)
Regards//Larry

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Re: "Do What?"

Postby Lee » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:03 pm

Stargzer wrote:
Lee wrote: . . .
Another pet peeve is when people say "I could care less" ... when what they really mean is " I could not care less".

I am eager to hear your comments.

Lee


They could care less if they cared enough to put in the effort to do so . . . 8)


Well .... okay then .... :cry:

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Re: "Do What?"

Postby Stargzer » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:13 pm

Lee wrote:
Well .... okay then .... :cry:

Lee


Cheer up! :lol:
Regards//Larry

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Re: "Do What?"

Postby sluggo » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:33 am

Lee wrote:In Texas (and most of the South) I hear people ask: "do what?" when they wish someone to repeat what was just said (regardless of whether they think they were ask to "do something or not)... is this common elsewhere?

Another pet peeve is when people say "I could care less" ... when what they really mean is " I could not care less".

I am eager to hear your comments.

Lee


I don't get to Texas much but I do hear "do what?" here and there as request for repitition, I guess around the South. Then I had a teacher in grade school who, when she didn't hear you, would say, "Well?". Always sounded like "well? are you going to repeat that or what? I'm waiting!" Both are a bit offputting.

I couldn't agree more about "could care less" meaning just the opposite. Linguistic poison. Drives me nuts. Maybe I should say I could agree more, to mean I couldn't. I get Perry's point about nuanced sarcasm but it just doesn't seem that those who use 'could care less' have enough awareness of their own speech to engage in nuanced sarcasm. They prolly couldn't care less.

And I'll throw in a side of French "comment?" to go with Perry's 'como' (OK it wasn't Perry. I'm stretching.....)
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Postby Perry » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:05 pm

I can croon, but it doesn't come through on this bulletin board.
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