LINGUIST List 4.759

Mon 27 Sep 1993

Disc: Y'all

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Directory

  1. Ken Miner, y'all
  2. , Y'all all
  3. Natalie Maynor, Re: impressions
  4. mmackenz, y'all all

Message 1: y'all

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1993 08:03:51 y'all
From: Ken Miner <MINERkuhub.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: y'all

My wife Gloria is a Coastal Southern speaker (South Georgia).

One thing I've noticed ('scuse me if this was mentioned before)
is that _y'all_ is not just another pronoun: it can be used as
a summons, as a vocative, and in other ways:

 Oh, y'all! (Gloria, upon getting her hand stuck in a jar)
 cf. *Oh, you!

 Good morning/Bye, y'all!
 cf. *Good morning/Bye, you!

 Wait a minute, y'all...
 cf. *Wait a minute, you...

 etc.

(The absolutely *last* word on _y'all_ :))

Ken Miner
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Message 2: Y'all all

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 93 14:27:44 ESY'all all
From: <WIWORL00ukpr.uky.edu>
Subject: Y'all all

Jacqueline L. Lilly writes:
> "Y'all all need to calm down."
> "Did y'all all hear what I said?"
> This construction refers to a group of people, and I think it also
>gives some support to the theory that y'all alone can be used to address just
>one individual. In plural constructions, then, the word "all" is added after
>y'all.

I must respectfully disagree. In the first example, the "all" makes it clear
that it is not just "y'all in the back" or "y'all over here" who is being
addressed, but everyone present. In the second example, "all" acts as a
quantifier, indicating that an affirmative answer means that each person
heard. If "y'all" is truly being used as a 2pl pronoun, it cannot also serve
this quantificational role, thus making the seemingly redundant "all"
necessary if the scope of the question is to be properly understood.

Wayne Isaac Worley
University of Kentucky
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Message 3: Re: impressions

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1993 13:13:54 Re: impressions
From: Natalie Maynor <maynorRa.MsState.Edu>
Subject: Re: impressions

> Natalie Maynor comments that in her hundreds of hours of taped data she is
> practically certain no instances of singular "y'all" occur, as she would
> have noticed them as anomalous. This is very likely true, but cannot be
> assumed true. I clearly remember the first time I "heard" the construction
> "needs washed", and my subsequent realization that I had undoubtedly heard
> it many times before without recognizing it for what it was. Admittedly,
> this is different from analyzing tapes, where one's familiarity with the
> contents is much more detailed; but I agree with a previous poster that
> impressions can't substitute for actual analysis, which I too would enjoy
> seeing the results of.
> Elise Morse-Gagne

I mentioned my impression of what I didn't hear in my hundreds of hours
of tape-auditing (some of which included word-for-word typescripting,
btw) as an aside. The main point of my posting was that Guy Bailey, a
very prominent dialectologist, *HAS* analyzed speech for singular y'all
and *HAS* found samples of it. Obviously it will be useful for more
people to work on this subject, but it is not accurate to say that
nobody has done anything on it. Guy's evidence is relatively recent
and has probably not been mentioned in print yet. He did talk about
it at LAVIS II (Language Variety in the South) last April.
 --Natalie (maynorra.msstate.edu)
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Message 4: y'all all

Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1993 00:34:37 y'all all
From: mmackenz <mmackenzindiana.edu>
Subject: y'all all


Jacqueline L. Lilly writes

[In Kentucky] I heard examples such as these quite often:
 "Y'all all need to calm down."
 "Did y'all all hear what I said?"
 This construction refers to a group of people, and I think it also
gives some support to the theory that y'all alone can be used to address just
one individual. In plural constructions, then, the word "all" is added after
y'all. Is this just another way to say "all y'all," or are there different
restrictions?

My first blush analysis of these sentences is that 'y'all all' is the same
as 'all (of) y'all', but on further reflection I find that sentences like

 "All (of) y'all need to calm down."

sound decidedly odd. I think the problem is that the construction is sentence
initial. Anyone else care to comment on the possibility that 'all (of) y'all'
is bad/odd at the beginning of a sentence and/or why this might be so?
The first possible reason that occurs to me is that it might possibly be
confused with the construction 'all y'all' meaning approximately 'the
only thing that y'all'. This might be why the version of the sentence above
using 'of' sounds better to me than the one without it.

Regardless whether 'all (of) y'all' and 'y'all all' are identical or
not, I still can[insert glottal stop here]'t twist my brain hard enough to
consider 'y'all' to have a singular interpretation in these
constructions. (just for the record my first 18 years of life were
spent in east Tennessee, smack dab in the middle of y'all country) The 'all'
here merely serves to indicate that each person in the group is referred
to rather than the group as a single unit.

Mike MacKenzie
Indiana University, Bloomington
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