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In this expression, (why thank you) there seems to be a question with a statement of gratitude. I have heard it all of my life growing up in Texas. I can even remember hearing it in the voice of Foghorn Leghorn "Why, I say why thank you." Is it just southern colloquialism? Another quote from Foghorn to end my question, “What’s it all about boy, elucidate!”

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In this case the 'why' is an interjection, rather than an interrogative. A much longer answer has already been provided

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