LINGUIST List 3.130

Sun 09 Feb 1992

Disc: Post-Ultimate Posting on Y'All

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Directory

  1. Kathleen Hubbard, Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all
  2. Stephen Ryberg, genitive and a half?
  3. Anthony C. Woodbury, Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all

Message 1: Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 92 23:33:49 -08Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all
From: Kathleen Hubbard <hubbardgarnet.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all

Just some more data, to augment and/or correct what's gone before: as a
y'all native of central Virginia, I can attest that it's never a disyllable
there (you-all), always just y'all, hence I could never understand the
"ya'll" spelling I've seen. Now I do, but that's not how we do it in the
Old Dominion. I can also corroborate "y'all's" as a possessive, with no
restrictions at all, and the use of y'all in the singular -- this happens
mostly in greetings, in my experience ("How [are] y'all doing?" addressed to
a single hearer). My dad's theory on this is that it's a bit like the
Romance-etc. politeness thing, but specifically this: when you greet someone
it's considered friendly (if not essential) to inquire about the state of
their family/household, not just their person. Don't know where that cultural
thing originates.

The native Virginia use of y'all that struck me as most interesting (when I
was there) was an emphatic "thank y'all, thank y'all so much" when someone
received a gift from a group of people. I think it was the stress that made
it interesting; y'all is usually fairly backgrounded. By the way, I find
y'all exiting my mouth fairly frequently here out west, even though I'm self-
conscious about it and don't have any other Southern accent traits, and it
is in fact usually met with indulgent smiles. Hope y'all come to use it as
the 2pl of choice over "youse", which to a southerner sounds abrasive.

Kathleen Hubbard
Berkeley transplant.
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Message 2: genitive and a half?

Date: Wed, 5 Feb 92 20:59:26 CSTgenitive and a half?
From: Stephen Ryberg <rybergcasbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: genitive and a half?

Sorry for dipping back into the allegedly completed discussion on the
second person plural, but a recent conversation brought to mind a related
something which I did not see mentioned in connection to the subject, and
particularly the sometimes attested form "your all's." This form may not
seem so surprising in light of the fact that we have a somewhat similar
duplicacy of genitive marking in other English forms. To wit:

	a friend of Jane's/the Queen's/his
v.	a friend of Jane / the Queen /*?him

Perhaps "your all's" results in part due to influence from the above N's
forms? (though there are undoubtedly other factors/constraints involving
the latter)

Steve Ryberg
Northwestern
rybergcasbah.acns.nwu.edu
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Message 3: Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all

Date: Thu, 6 Feb 92 09:20:45 -06Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all
From: Anthony C. Woodbury <acwemx.utexas.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.115 Last Posting on Y'all

Living in Chicago in the early '70's, I recall being asked by my
neighbor as we emerged on our respective back porches:

	That y'alls's [yalzz] trash?

Where y'alls's is genitive of y'alls (referring to me & my housemates),
which is plural of y'all, which, as several other posters indicated,
does indeed get used for singular referents in some people's dialects.

Tony Woodbury
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