ya'll (was: Southern Advice)

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Jul 16 17:54:39 UTC 2001

Douglas Bigham <TlhovwI at AOL.COM> writes:


     [quoting Rima McKinzie]
>And have you noticed that in the current ADS journal, there's an article
consistently using ya'll?  >Does that make any sense?  What is being
substituted by the apostrophe?  Rima

I usually use "ya'll" when writing.  The apostrophe is replacing the "a" in
"all".  Something like this:

you = ya
all = all

ya + all = ya'll

When the words are seperated for emphasis/clarity when speaking it comes
out "ya all" not usually "you all".  That's why the "ya'll".  It's a
debated I've been having with a prescriptiveist grammar teacher for over 8
years now.

Ugh. I've never liked "ya'll", and now I see why: It retains the wrong "a".
The "a" in "ya" represents a schwa; the "a" in "all" represents an open-o
(IPA turned-c). (Unless you pronounce "ya'll" as ['j at l] or ['j^l].)

IMHO, "ya'll" is wrong, and its main support comes from an unconscious and
misapplied analogy with the "will" contractions "he'll", "I'll", "you'll",
and so on.

Now, if ya wanna use "ya'll" for an allegro pronunciation of the
contraction for "you will", I got no prob'm with that. But if y'all use it
for a pronoun, y'all's flat wrong.

-- Mark, a non-y'all-er from Noo Yawk

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