I’m from a rural area of East Texas and the phrase “How much do you like,” and variations thereof, are commonly used to ask how much time or prerequisites a person has left in a given task.
“I’m ready to be finished with school.”
“Really? How much more do you like?”
I’ve talked to people from Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia who are familiar with this phrasing, but it seems to be fairly uncommon/archaic.
Does anyone else have experience with this phrase? Or insights into its prevalence/origin?
I might could be somebody’s older relative from Texas and I say “like.” I picked it up as a child from my parents and grandparents, so it goes back a long time. I will allow that I might have understood it wrong and I never have questioned it or tried to look it up, but it is still in fairly common use in my circles.
It was definitely like. Around 1971 I worked in a print shop in OKC where this question was common. “How many do you like?” “About 200, then I can run your Bell Jewelry cards.”
These were mainly southeastern Okies, from places like McAlester or Okmulgee. The usage was not nearly as common around Enid or Ponca.
The hypercorrection was complete and reciprocal, because these folks used lack to mean like. “I really lack Marlboras, but I’ll smoke a Kool if I like anytheng better.”
Another thing I noticed about these SE Okies: pin and pen were both pronounced pin, but they didn’t feel the two words as homonyms. Both were varieties of the same noun meaning long pointed thing, and were always distinguished as “strite pin” and “eenk pin”.
Ron Draney said
Since most of the older relatives I grew up around were from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Missouri, I heard this expression throughout my first decade. But I always thought it was “how much do you lack“?
In translating Texan to Murrican, I thought a Texan would say “I lack my coffee black.”
Not saying this is not an “Okie” thing..but my family has been in the S.W. Georgia are for a few good centuries and I have always been perplexed by my father’s usage of “How much do you like?” with regards to any task, even more so, my homework – Which always had a very predictable and dickish response of “I don’t like any of it”.
My Grandmother always called her cookies “tea cakes” – very British. She knew nothing of tea-time, nor what a biscuit was/shortbread etc. For her, they were cookies, but for some unexplainable reason, she referred to them as “tea cakes” – Old school British.
Secondly, I’ve been overseas going on two decades and this is a phonetical thing. “Like” spoken by with Scottish accent (and Irish for that matter) is essentially “lack” – so the they contextual application that most have referred to is logical. The meaning is just that, it’s only some centuries old oddity of pronunciation.
It is indeed “lack” only our heritage, for some strange reason, has held on to the pronunciation “lyke”/”like”.
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