End of ADS-L Digest - 23 Jan 1994 to 24 Jan 1994 ************************************************ There are 6 messages totalling 146 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. y'all singular, not! (2) 2. Tamony lecture April 21 3. y'all 4. need some information 5. AWAKE! Etc. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 24 Jan 1994 22:29:32 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: y'all singular, not! Bill, et al.: The experience with Bill's Chair (and as a "Head", no "Chairs" being hereabouts, I can affirm that even such august personages are not immune to unique grammars or misspeakings), and his wife with staff (? or patients) in the hospital o and Beth's (I think) report of the coffee-server using with evident singularity (the occasion not permitting intrusion into their mental processes) suggests, as I have been discussing with Don Lance, that there may be an emerging pattern of evidence for a "polite" usage, perhaps parallel to caregiver use of for (sg.), and inversely parallel to the polite use of now confounding GB grammarians. The service contexts and the power differential perceived between Bill and his Chair suggest some of the same impulses which produced ---> and probably earlier contributed to ---> . Since evidence in other cases makes it clear that the "politeness" impulse can independently produce parallel results, it should not be surprising that originally plural (arising from the standard British distributive "you all", which I have heard even from Prime Ministers -- and remember, if the / distinction had not broken down there would never have been a need for a new plural in the first place) was being used independently as a polite form. Remember, you heard it here first! So far, though, I have not heard anyone arguing that is not REALLY first person plural because certain English speakers have been discovered using it in direct reference to an addressee as second person singular. Rudy