Singular Y'all Come Back, Hear?

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat Jan 10 15:50:31 UTC 2004

Yes, the formulaic "Y'all Come Back, Hear?" is often reported. As I recall, Richardson and others explain this as a kind of (genteel?) idiom meaning "Come back and bring your friends and family."
     Alternatively, for many speakers, it could be that singular/plural distinction is neutralized, just as explcit gender identification is neutralized in such currently popular structures as "Next, the researcher will need to take steps to insure that the privacy of her human subjects is protected." That is to say, just as this use of "her" is not valid evidence for the assertion that "her" now "means" either male or female, so to this speciallized use off "y'all" does not argue that native speakers generally think of "y'all" as a normal singular form, much less regularly use it that way.

In a message dated 1/9/2004 1:25:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM> writes:

>The formulaic "y'all come back, y'hear?" at the end of commercial
>transactions that I was hearing for the first time when we moved to
>southern Ohio from the west coast, was equally addressed to singular and
>plural customers.  I don't know if it has been entirely replaced by "have a
>nice day" in its old haunts, but wouldn't such automatic expressions be
>likely to have spread out into general usage?
>A. Murie

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