Singular "yez"?

FRITZ JUENGLING juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US
Mon Dec 13 16:47:45 UTC 2004

I cannot supply anything in print, but I went to grad school with a gal from Kentucky (does that disqualify her from being a "genuine Southern-speaker"?) who claimed she used y'all as a singular and 'all y'all' as the plural (or does that fact that she uses "y'all" as a singular disqualify her from being a genuine Southern-speaker?).  I've always been amused at the discussions about singular 'y'all' on this list and elsewhere.  Most southeners claim that y'll cannot be singular.  But they seem to consider only their own dialect, or even idiolect, but not the fact that for other people or dialects the case might be different.
Fritz J

>>> wilson.gray at RCN.COM 12/10/04 07:58PM >>>
On Dec 10, 2004, at 12:41 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Singular "yez"?
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> At 11:21 AM -0500 12/10/04, Alice Faber wrote:
>>> From a posting in alt.folklore.urban:
>>> In the Philly area (I am a recent immigrant) I swear that
>>> there is a singular pronoun "yez". My family thinks I'm
>>> hallucinating, or that maybe it's the Brooklynese "youse".
>>> Neither is true. "Youse" is plural and is quite distinct
>>> from what I'm hearing, e.g. "would yez like some coffee?"
>>> AM I hallucinating?
> Wonder if this is the same phenomenon as singular y'all, much
> discussed here.  As I recall, there was no consensus on whether
> so-called singular y'all generally involves an implicit reference to
> others in some contextually understood set to which the singular
> addressee belongs (e.g. 'you and your family', 'you and the horse you
> came in with') or whether there's a regional and social
> differentiation on this.
> Larry

Can someone supply some examples in which a genuine Southern-speaker or
a BE speaker uses "y'all"/"you-all" as a singular? I've heard and read
since the '40's, at least that, y'all/you-all can be used as a
second-person singular. I have never heard such a use from any white
Southerners or from any black  person. But I'm willing to grant that
that could be mere happenstance.

-Wilson Gray

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