"Y'all" redux

Janis Vizier Nihart tarheel at MOBILETEL.COM
Sun Feb 20 00:10:29 UTC 2005

As a white  South Louisianian, I have never heard "Y'all" as a singular
pronoun, but the use of "y'all's" and "y'all" as a possessive pronoun is
used.(I passed by y'all's/ y'all house yesterday, but y'all weren't home.)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wilson Gray" <wilson.gray at RCN.COM>
Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2005 2:45 PM
Subject: "Y'all" redux

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM>
> Subject:      "Y'all" redux
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In an earlier discussion as to whether Southern-English speakers could,
> would, or did use "y'all" as a singular, a white Mississippian, who
> posted directly to me instead of to the list, and I, a black East
> Texan, maintained that "y'all" is always plural. Many others didn't
> agree and suggested that I might want to read what David Crystal, in
> his "The Stories of English," has to say about his experience of the
> use of "y'all" in Fort Worth, Texas, that experience being that "y'all"
> *is* used as a singular.
> In Texas, we say that the West begins at Fort Worth. So, I suggested
> that perhaps there's or some kind of dialect split between East Texas
> and Fort Worth.
> I have now read what Prof. Crystal has to say. Since I've never been
> farther west in Texas than Longview, I accept Prof. Crystal's
> description of the use of "y'all" in a representative metropolitan area
> in West Texas.. However, He also provides a dialect map that shows that
> East Texas, like Mississippi, falls into the region of Southern
> English, whereas Fort Worth is located in the region of Western
> English.
> So, concerning the "y'all" question, the answer appears to be that it
> depends on where you are and/or whether your informant is back or
> white.
> -Wilson Gray

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