A new one on me y'all guys

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Oct 3 14:45:37 UTC 2012

On Oct 3, 2012, at 6:44 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:
> Of irrelevant interest, and possibly mentioned years ago, I did encounter
> the weird spelling "ya'll" in freshman papers surprisingly often.

i see it very often indeed.  the wikipedia entry says:

  There is evidence that the original spelling was ya'll. The spelling of ya'll could have originated from the contraction of ya-all because ya was a common spoken slang form of the word you. 19th and 20th century authors like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Carson McCullers used ya'll. Though becoming less common, the spelling of ya'll is still used within the Southern United States.

unfortunately, there's no sourcing for the claims.

> The only explanation I ever got was that "it just looks right."

this might be nothing more than your informants' familiarity with
'll in other contractions -- admittedly, standing for *will* in I'll, she'll, we'll, they'll etc., but still it's there.


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

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