"Alls I Need..."

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jun 13 15:24:17 UTC 2001

In earlier English there was considerable diversity in those
particles which would become the main complementizer. Without too
much detail,let us just note that some of the competition wavered
between "that" and.' "That" (and zero = "All you need is love") won
out in most varieties, but in others both a full form of "as" and a
reduced form, attached to "all," have survived; hence

I know as I want to go = I know that I want to go

in some varieties, and

Alls I want to do is leave = All (that) I want to do is leave

in many others. It is widespread in the US, not at all restricted to
Central Texas. I have heard it in South Midland (presumably the major
"imput" diaealct for Central Texas), North Midland, and Inland
Northern varieties.

dInIs (who cain't honestly say anynmore if he's got it honestly or not)

>I've developed the habit of saying "alls" instead of "all" when the
>word comes at the start of sentences, as in "Alls you need is love,"
>or "Alls I'm saying is that we can't go to the lake."  I'm trying to
>figure out where that comes from, or whether anyone else does it at
>I'm aware of the discussion of "You'alls" and "Y'alls", but this is
>something different.  And while I would have guessed it is a local
>habit of rural Central Texas, I've spent two weeks listening for it
>and heard no one else using it.

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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