bare possessive yall

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 2 08:01:34 UTC 2014

Watch any TV show with random, ordinary, black people on it, e.g. Maury,
Springer, Judge Greg Mathis, The Boondocks, and you can hear this _y'all_
with your own ears. It's not "used sometimes" in BE. Rather, it's an
absolute feature, like universal negation - "How come *we* didn't think to
bring no gun?" and the  well-known "Can't no cat get into no coop." Indeed,
possessive _s_ doesn't exist at all, except among us  boojies speaking
under circumstances in which we might be overheard by white people that we
need to impress with our articulateness.

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 7:05 PM, Clai Rice <cxr1086 at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Clai Rice <cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU>
> Subject:      bare possessive yall
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dear All,
> I am currently in the process of documenting that Cajuns often use the
> unmarked form of yall as possessive: "I'll leave this on the table so yall
> can sign yall names" or "How was yall weather up there?"
> My instinct tells me this is used sometimes in AAVE, but so far the only
> mention of it I have been able to find is in Wolfram's Urban AAVE article
> in Handbook of Varieties of English (Schneider and Kortmann 2004). There
> he gives the example of "It's y'all ball", but doesn't include it in the
> discussion on possessives. Can anyone point me to other mentions or
> discussions of this form, or any data where I might be able to find it?
> Transcript data would be the best, but anything including personal
> observations would be useful. The number of articles and books on AAVE
> where I have not found it is becoming very long.
> Thanks in advance.
> Clai Rice
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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