One would certainly think that this is a request for information. Not so. It is a form of understanding. For instance, you mention to someone that your power bill increased during the recent heat wave and their response is, “Tell me about it.” Now they do not want to hear all of the gory details. Neither do they care. Usage of this phrase is more or less a concurrence. They are simply stating that their bill also increased during the same period.
To fully understand these unique expressions, one must be somewhat familiar with the manner of speech symmetrical with the southern dialect. If, for example, the listener did not receive an elevated bill, the reply would be: “How about that.” There is no need for a lengthy explanation as to why.
If, by chance, you think that some of the expressions are used incorrectly, think again. When you hear one say, “I ain’t never going to do that again;” just remember: That the usage of the words; am not, would be incorrect in this particular sentence. The key word here is NEVER. To say “I am not” does not carry the same emphasis as, “I am not “NEVER;” which is incorrect. To use “I am never going to do that again;” indicates your feeling toward NO; whereas “I ain’t NEVER;” simply means; “HAIL-NO!” “See what I mean”?
Other expressions that are typical of this colorful language include “The hell you say.” “Where do you get off.” and “Sheete.” “Th’ hell you say.” denotes complete surprise and / or disbelief. This is far more assertive than merely, “I don’t believe you.” Inquiring of someone as to, “Where do you get off telling me what to do, is more or less a nice way of saying, “What the hell do you mean?” The other word, “sheete,” can be used for many meanings depending on the context of the statement. As self/disgust, if you miss the nail; and hit your thumb with a hammer; “It’s simply, lack of knowledge, as in.” “You don’t know sheete;” and to emphasize another word as in, “Sheete NO.” The latter two words is; quite often; used to close an unwanted conversation.
Not only is the language colorful, it better describes the true meaning of what one is attempting to imply, as in. — “Yankees are like hemorrhoids.’ “They come down:” “They stay down:” “And they both are a pain in the Rear.”
“Tell me about it!”