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"I Swanee" or "I'll Swanee"
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2010/03/20
12:20pm
marigold
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On today’s show (WFYI @ noon), there was a reference to I (or I’ll) Swanee used similar to “I declare” or a similar expression. I live in and have grown up in Indiana. When I was a child, I heard older people say, “I swan” used in the same way. Neither my husband nor I had ever heard “I Swanee,” but it was interesting to hear of a similar expression used in the same way. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

2010/04/22
9:41am
adventure
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I’ve never heard that used, but I think it’s great. I went to a tiny college in TN called “Sewanee.”
It’s not a river!

2010/10/16
3:28pm
Chuck Kincade
Poway, CA
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I’m grew up in Mississippi in the 40’s thru the 60’s and remember my grandmother and mother used the term “I’ll swanee” although they pronounced it “I’ll swunee.” I’ve been in California since ’68, and never have heard the expression out here.

2010/10/23
1:24pm
heathbug
Plano, Texas
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My grandmother used to say that whenever she was surprised. (This was in the early to mid fifties.) I never could understand whether she was saying “I swanee” or “I’ll swanee”, but I never thought about it until now. She was born in Troup, Texas (or in Georgia, we never found out which), which is in east Texas, but was raised in Kerens, Texas (south of Dallas). The saying never caught on with my mother or any of us kids.

2010/11/10
10:49am
Springtown, TX
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My family was from north east Texas, near Paris and when I was a child I heard my grandmother use this term “I Swan” often, but haven’t heard this used since. Have never before heard of it being used. Thought it was just heard in my mother’s family.

2010/11/11
7:56pm
Bob Bridges
USA
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Definitely not just your family. I’ve both read it (as a Southernism) and heard it in my wife’s family. I married a North Carolina girl, but both her parents were from Georgia.

2012/02/12
5:29pm
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I have tried for years to decipher what this meant. My aunt used to say, “Well, I’ll just swan.” or “Well, I’ll just swanee.” just about to everything. I always figured it was a lady-like way to swear! And her mother, my paternal grandmother’s favorite was “Land o’ Goshen!” I assume she was using Land of Goshen as in the Bible. Anyone every heard that one? I grew up in East Texas (my grandmother was from Indiana). I never heard anyone say it except my Aunt Florence.

2012/02/12
8:35pm
Ron Draney
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When I was in about fifth grade, one of my classmates said she was bothered by the biblical reference to people who “lived in the land of Goshen”.

She thought the preacher was saying they lived in “the ‘lantic Ocean”.

2012/02/14
9:59am
Bob Bridges
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Yeah, I’ve read (but never heard) “Land of Goshen!”, too; I take it to be a more western than southern expression, from Texas and Oklahoma perhaps.   But you say she was from Indiana.   My kin are mostly from Wisconsin but that saying isn’t in our family.

I didn’t mention it before, but I’ve long supposed “I swanee!” to be spelled, properly speaking, “I suwanee!”.   That is, I connect it mentally with the Suwanee river (as in ” ‘way down upon…”).   But I may be mistaken.

2013/02/08
8:01pm
martash
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I just came across “I swan” in “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane, and by the context it does seem like a synonym for “I’ll be.” Thanks for the input, Posters!

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