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I about to died! Options
Sssamy
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 7:48:40 AM
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Joined: 5/3/2021
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Hi.

Just curious where the usage of the dialectal 'I about to died!' centers around. Southeastern U.S.? Texas? 'Everybody's All American' is staged in North Carolina and uses the expression.
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 9:41:04 AM

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Joined: 6/4/2015
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Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
That was a 1988 movie. I've been on the planet, in the US ( born and raised ) more than 60 years, and have never heard anyone say that. Are you certain it is a regional expression, and not just something someone used in a movie?
FounDit
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 10:49:39 AM

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Having been raised in Appalachia, and being familiar with a great many regional expressions, I can say I've never heard anyone say that. I suspect the writer's of the movie thought it was a cute way of having the characters speak, thinking they knew how the people of the area talk. They were wrong.
tautophile
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 3:48:22 PM
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"I about to died" is a very slangy hyperbolic or exaggerated expression meaning "I just about died" or "I was about to have died", meaning I was so surprised that I (felt as if I) almost died of the shock or surprised (of seeing or experiencing whatever it was I saw or experienced). It would be something spoken in Appalachia or in the Old West by backwoods folks.

In more sophisticated areas, you might hear something like "The comedian was so funny that I almost died laughing", which is just as hyperbolic or exaggerated, but more grammatical.
Sssamy
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 10:34:34 PM
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Joined: 5/3/2021
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It is in use by a certain percentage of people according to my small-scale survey (n = approx.130) across the nation. However, it was hard to ascertain any concentrated areas of the affirmative respondents because of the size.
Sssamy
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 10:43:42 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/3/2021
Posts: 3
Neurons: 15
tautophile wrote:
"I about to died" is a very slangy hyperbolic or exaggerated expression meaning "I just about died" or "I was about to have died", meaning I was so surprised that I (felt as if I) almost died of the shock or surprised (of seeing or experiencing whatever it was I saw or experienced). [...]

Hi tautophile.

Thanks. Are you sure your latter interpretation is "I was about to have died," not "I 'am' about to have died" or "I was about to 'die'"? I take yours to mean "I had been dying and soon after the point of this utterance I would be done dying." (I am not a native speaker, so I would be totally wrong)
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