Re:       Re: Singular "yez"?

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 12 23:19:19 UTC 2004

This has been discussed many times here, as I recall. Check the archives. 
Also, there has been a great deal published on this in the past 30 years in 
AMERICAN SPEECH. There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not it is a 
genuine Southern phenomenon or just something that Yankees make up when they move 
South. Guy Bailey did telephone interviews with people in Oklahoma and some of 
them said they used "y'all" in the singular. There has been debate about the 
reliability of those results.

The sort of example that Bethany gives is often explained (or explained away, 
given your perspective) as meaning 'You [and your friends and family] come 

One wonders how trustworthy JL's example is. Is this something that he has 
taperecorded evidence for? Or did someone mistake "You're" for "Y'all"?

In addition, people do make mistakes. One can find examples of instances 
where people say "he" when they mean "she," and vice versa. This does not mean 
that "he" means 'she' (or vice versa).

I am myself dubious of the viability of singular "y'all." Certainly, the 
number of verifiable, convincing examples is miniscule.

In a message dated 12/11/04 11:26:05 PM, wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM writes:

> Conversation between two college wymyn, newly arrived at a dorm, 1976:
> "Where are you from?"
> "Baton Rouge."
> "Y'all from Louisiana???  Well, so am I ! !"
> JL
> "Bethany K. Dumas" <dumasb at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header 
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: "Bethany K. Dumas"
> Subject: Re: Singular "yez"?
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> --
> On Fri, 10 Dec 2004, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >Can someone supply some examples in which a genuine Southern-speaker or
> >a BE speaker uses "y'all"/"you-all" as a singular? I've heard and read
> >since the '40's, at least that, y'all/you-all can be used as a
> >second-person singular. I have never heard such a use from any white
> >Southerners or from any black person. But I'm willing to grant that
> >that could be mere happenstance.
> I have heard it and know others who have heard it in the Knoxville, TN
> area. One example is from a medical office - receptionist says to
> patient, "y'all come back."
> Bethany

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