antedating of y'all (1702)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 17 23:42:45 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Now if a bunch of conversational "you all"s  were to be found (addressed to
> only two rather than a bunch of people) that would be extremely significant.
> (I've searched for 18th century "you all"s, but ECCO isn't quite up to it,
> giving thousands of false hits.  "Eighteenth Century Journals, 1685 -
> 1835," however, comes up with no positives at all. That's hard to brush
> aside.)

DARE has Southern-style "you all" from 1816, and Michael Ellis and
Michael Montgomery present an 1811 example in their 2011 American
Speech paper, "About _All_: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American
English I" (AmSp 86(3): 340-354).

The 1811 example can also be seen here:
"But I am not satisfied nor wont be untill I get Back to you all & my
native Country."
Aug. 6, 1811 (Hutchison Family Papers, Univ. of South Carolina)


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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