“A friend from Appalachia told me that people there say “might could” instead of “should”. It’s less annoying.”
I don’t think it’s just about being less annoying. Really it tells you a lot about the point of view of people from appalachia. I think in the way languages develop, they adapt to the views and lived reality of the people who speak it, along with the normal stuff about different cultural influences.
On the surface, when someone says “might could,” I think it shows an intentional lack of intrusion as well as avoiding telling someone they should do something. But it can also be about reverse psychology. It’s a way of convincing someone even more that they should do something that is even more convincing because it is simply put forward as one option among many. Someone from my hometown might say, “If you wanna get a coffee, you might could go down to Wagles.” This is really saying, “Wagles is the best option,” but avoiding direct aggression.
The same thing is true with the famous, “Bless your/his/their heart.” The most prominent usage of the phrase in broader American cultural understanding is the passive aggressive insult. Like, “Look at her hair, bless her heart.”
But the phrase can also be used in a multitude of ways, from a sincere concern for a loved one to an expression of attraction. But, at its center, it is usually meant to express emotion in an indirect way. It’s a well wish that hides a deeper meaning. Usually people say something like, “Bless their heart,” in a context where the subject of the conversation is not in the conversation. If they are, and it is an insult, the interaction is even more complex. If you are a southerner and you want to tell someone they’re ugly in a social situation, but don’t want to break propriety, you use the phrase. You say, “Oh, you’ve been dieting again? Bless your heart, I’ve been on the Atkins for years.” You’re insulting someone, but it is up to that person to break open that package you’ve just given them, making it on them to be insulted.
read “A Few Ideas About Art Criticism” here