antedating of y'all (1704)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 17 20:34:36 UTC 2014

Google Books has the 1672 edition of the play:

Both here and in the 1702 example posted earlier, the "y'all"
contraction is necessitated by scansion, but they're still notable
finds. From around the same era I've also seen "ye all" with the "e"
appearing as a small superscript -- I expect "y'all" with an
apostrophe was intended to be read that way in these examples.


On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM, David Parker wrote:
> ---- Because I’ve seen
> This Day, what ’tis to hope to be a Queen!
> Heav’n, how y’all watch’d each Motion of her eye!
> John Dryden, _ The conquest of Granada by the Spaniards. Acted at the Theatre-Royal_.   London: printed for J. Tonson, and T. Bennet: and sold by J. Knapton at the Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, G. Strahan and W. Davis over-against the Royal Exchange in Cornhill, 1704.   P. 13
> But according to WorldCat, this play was first published in 1672 "in the Savoy, Printed by T.N. for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at the Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange."
> Again, from Gale's Eighteenth Century Collections Online.
> And now, back to my real work.
> David B. Parker
> Professor of History
> Assistant Chair,
>   Dept. of History & Philosophy
> Kennesaw State University
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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