LINGUIST List 4.701

Tue 14 Sep 1993

Disc: Y'all

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. Michael Covington, Re: 4.697 Y'all
  2. Tom Leverett, y'all
  3. Joseph George Tomei, more y'all
  4. lc22, Y'all
  5. wachal robert s, Re: 4.697 Y'all, Uptalk

Message 1: Re: 4.697 Y'all

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1993 12:56:49 Re: 4.697 Y'all
From: Michael Covington <mcovingtai.uga.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.697 Y'all

A *real* Yankee is somebody who doesn't know that "y'all" is plural.

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:- Artificial Intelligence Programs mcovingtai.uga.edu : *********
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Message 2: y'all

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 93 13:05:23 CDy'all
From: Tom Leverett <LEVERETTUKANVM.bitnet>
Subject: y'all

A Midwesterner uses y'all because his/her own 'you guys,' which was
not gender-specific, is sometimes interpreted as gender specific.
My favorite you-plural is "you'ns," pronounced as "yins" and heard
in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area. I find myself using "y'all"
frequently, and I'm not trying to be southern.
-Tom Leverett, Pittsburg KS, on the western edge of Dixie
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Message 3: more y'all

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1993 11:49:41 more y'all
From: Joseph George Tomei <jtomeiOREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
Subject: more y'all


There is however, i believe, one detail of its
>usage which she fails to mention (if i've got this wrong, Anne -- or any
>other true southerners -- please correct me!). As i understand it, 'y'all'
>is an explicitly plural pronoun, existing alongside 'you' which is
>restricted to singular referents and thus serves the purpose 'thou/thee'
>once served alongside the explicitly plural 'you'.

Another aspect to y'all that is quite striking is the use of a singular
y'all as a politeness marker, similar to tu/vous in French. I noticed it
quite a bit when I went back home last year. (southern Mississippi) Anyone
else notice this?
jtomeioregon.uoregon.edu
381 East 12th Ave.
Eugene OR 97401
(503) 343-5358
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Message 4: Y'all

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 93 19:19 EDT
From: lc22 <Linda_K_COLEMANumail.umd.edu>
Subject: Y'all

As a native speaker of a _y'all_-using dialect, I have some questions about a
couple of points in the discussion so far.

First, _y'all_ is an abbreviation of _you all_ only etymologically. _You
all_ means the same as _all of you_, while _y'all_ is simply plural.

(1) Do you all have books?

addressed to three people, one of whom is bookless,
would have to be answered "no."

(2) Do y'all have books?

addressed to the same three, could be answered, "Yes, Hester and I do, but
Herkimer here doesn't."

Second, _y'all_ doesn't seem to me a true pronoun so much as a plural
marker of some sort for second person. Unlike true pronouns, once
plurality has been established subsequent occurrences of the second person
don't have to use the _y'all_ form. In fact, in some cases, too many
instances of the _y'all_ form in a row strikes me as clumsy at best. It
seems to suffice to toss another _y'all_ back into the discourse from time
to time to establish that the plural is meant, or where confusion with the
singular might occur.

For example.

(3) Do y'all have your books?
(4) ??Do y'all have y'all's books?

(yes, _y'all's_ is the possessive of _y'all_--at least where I come from).
And, a reconstructed, but, I think, pretty accurate example from a
conversation a Southerner had with an English person, after explaining the
right-turn-on-red rule:

(5) I guess in y'all's case you'd be doing left turn on red, though.

There are, I'm sure, other rules for using the forms elsewhere--I can only
vouch for how people spoke in (Northern) Virginia. I'd be interested in any
comments on the marker-vs.-pronoun question, though. Do speakers of
dialects that use other second-person plurals, like _youse_ or _yez_, carry
the plural form consistently through a discourse?

Linda Coleman
Department of English
University of Maryland
lc22umail.umd.edu
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Message 5: Re: 4.697 Y'all, Uptalk

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1993 09:54:03 Re: 4.697 Y'all, Uptalk
From: wachal robert s <rwachalumaxc.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: 4.697 Y'all, Uptalk

But if the workers at the Shakopee Renaissance Fair try to sound like
actors doing Shakespeare, then according to Helge Koekeritz, they won't
sound like renaissance speakers.
Bob Wachal
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