Heard on The Judges

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 21 18:05:45 UTC 2008


"What were you-all doing?"

Twelve-year-old black male speaker:

"_We-all_ was playin' an' havin' fun."

FWIW, this is the only time that I've had the impression that a
speaker has said "we-all" or "they-all" and not been just joking. It's
unfortunate that the speaker is only a child replying to an authority
figure, since there are many ways to explain this away. E.g.,
automatic response of "we-all" to judge's "you-all"; the speaker
intended to say, "We were (all) ...," but, being in intimidating
circumstances, slipped up; "an' so fo'th ('n' so own)," as we say in
East Texas BE.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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