ya'll (was: Southern Advice)

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Jul 16 22:38:57 UTC 2001

Interesting that a non-ya'll speaker proposes to tell usall what to
do (or what is "flat right"). Now I better understand the source of
comments about New York (and New Yawkuhs) in my folk linguistic
investigations in the south.


>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

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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