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Say you do something simple and nice for someone. A normal reply would be "I appreciate that, thank you." (phrased in either order)

But for the past year or two, down here in the southern US, I've been hearing a new phrase (at least new to me) that seems to conflate "I appreciate that" and "thank you."

I appreciate you.

Tack a southern drawl on it and you get

I appreciate cha.

The first time I heard it, I was thrown, thinking "Wow, that's pretty strangely sloppy." Then I heard it again, and... again. Now, it's very commonplace here.

So my questions are:

  1. Do you hear this in your area?
  2. If so, is it new?
  3. Anyone know its origins?
6

Do you hear this in your area?

I talk to people in many regions for work purposes, and I hear it from some in the South (Texas, Georgia).

If so, is it new?

Fairly new, I guess.

Anyone know its origins?

I would venture to guess that it's a shortened form of I appreciate you having done (whatever).


EDIT re: your comment

But doesn't seem like they are emphasizing more the "you" than the deed? People often look me in the eye when they say this.

Yes.

So let's say that instead of appreciating that, they appreciate you having done that. It wouldn't have happened without you. In that transfer, they are thanking you for existing and having the motive and opportunity to do that thing you did.

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  • RE shortened form - I wondered about that too. But doesn't seem like they are emphasizing more the "you" than the deed? People often look me in the eye when they say this. I don't know why, but I find it fascinating to watch a language phrase morphing like this... – Howard Pautz Sep 14 '13 at 2:37
  • @HowardPautz Please see my edit. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Sep 14 '13 at 2:58
  • ah good point in the edit - thx! – Howard Pautz Sep 14 '13 at 3:01
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    When I've heard it phrased that way, I think it is also intended to expand the thankfulness/appreciation beyond the immediate act. It is in essence saying "I'm glad you are who you are, and I'm thankful for the thing you just did, things you've done in the past and perhaps things you will do in the future." – matthew Sep 14 '13 at 4:12
  • Nice observation, @matthew, I sort of get that sense of it too. (Geeze, someone down voted my question LOL - go figure, no clue why such a question would be downvoted - maybe they didn't appreciate my thank you or pun at the end :)) Well... who ever it was, I appreciate cha any who. – Howard Pautz Sep 14 '13 at 5:40
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I, having lived most of my life in the American South, have heard this expression a lot (though I would tend to spell and pronounce it "'preciate 'cha" I.e. "Preeshee-a-chuh"). Having also lived in other regions, though, I'm well aware that it's as peculiar to Southerners as "y'all." Idk the etymological details of the idiom, I think it's very typical of southern warmth and friendliness. It always seemed to me friendlier to express an appreciation for the actor, as opposed to just the action itself.

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  • Interesting - the pronunciation I hear here (in North Florida and Southern Georgia, USA) seems very similar to what I think I "hear" in your description. If they mumble, it's "Preeshee-a-chuh"; If they annunciate clearer, it's " 'preciate 'cha." RE "y'all" - I've wondered if it's because of the possible confusion between the singular "you" and the plural. Consider the result of walking into a room full of people and asking in a voice only slightly louder than you'd use talking one-on-one, but not so loud that it'd be evident you're addressing everyone: "would you like a drink?" :)) – Howard Pautz Sep 22 '16 at 15:50
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It has become strangely common of late here in Chicago. I thought the same thing when I first heard it on some reality show set in the south, but now I catch people of all different backgrounds saying it here, even on different sides of town. Contextually, it seems to be a very casual and familiar thank-you, pronounced simply as "'Preciate ya." Sort of awkward, but not the worst, I suppose.

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  • Welcome to ELU, apple charlie foxtrot 31. Not only do I 'preciate ya' for your unique user ID, but also because as one of your first posts here, you replied to my question. I was hoping to receive replies as the phenomenon migrates, if you will, around the country. ... funny how language changes even in awkward ways :)) – Howard Pautz Oct 21 '14 at 17:43
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I heard it first when I started working in TN 1989 and MS in 1991. Said by professionals but in an informal comfortable setting. 'Preciate it and I 'preciate ya. It can include tasks done or a person being the kind of person they are...

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Let me address the "origins" part of the OP's question. I will address the question of "when" by noting the years in which several songs were released.

There are quite a few popular phrases and songs that have a plosive t, possibly followed by a linking verb, then followed by you.

The linguistic phenomenon seems to be that the linking verb gets deleted and the you gets elided into the cha that you are observing.

For example:

Don't you think becomes Don't cha think in this song by Elvis. (1958)

What (are) you going to do becomes Whatcha gonna do (Note that the song title is "What You gonna do (When she says goodbye)", while the lyrics say "Whatcha gonna do" (1977)

What (are) you going to do also becomes Whatcha gonna do in this Bad Boys song by Inner Circle. (1987)

What did she say becomes Whatcha say in this song by Jason DeRulo. (2009)

Wha- wha- what did she say
Mmh whatcha say

So as to the origin, I would say that the cha is an elided form of you. And I appreciate you undergoes the same transformation as Don't you.

(I am struggling a bit with the phonetic changes, but would appreciate any aid from the linguists in the community.)

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We can thank, in part, that brilliant speaker George W. Bush, U.S. President for this expression. He was known to say in in press conferences "I appreciate House rep. John Blank,'' (for example) rather than saying the deed or particular political stand he (Bush) appreciated. One more chance to be elusive as a politician, it appears.

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