"Y'all" redux

J. Eulenberg eulenbrg at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Sun Feb 20 18:35:27 UTC 2005

I'm from Dallas, which I guess (Dallas being east of Ft. Worth)
makes me a Southern English speaker.  I can assure you that I never used
ya'll or you'all singularly, and I was quite put out at 14 when I visited
Northern cousins who teased me by using it singularly!  If I read Wilson's
last line correctly, he meant "whether your informant is black or white."
For what it's worth, in this case, I'm white.

Julia Niebuhr Eulenberg <eulenbrg at u.washington.edu>

On Sat, 19 Feb 2005, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- 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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