Date: Sat, 7 May 1994 19:11:03 CDT


Subject: y'all

I just got y'alled at the Cracker Barrel Old Time Store in Columbia, Missouri.

The Cracker Barrel is a Tennessee-based chain of restaurant-&-gift-shop

establishments. I was sitting alone and a small table and the waitress

(local dialect) asked "Are y'all ready to order?" I responded with my

order (specially prepared cholesterol) and then commented that she had

said "y'all" and I wondered whether she thought someone might be joining me.

Her response, with some surprise: "Are you expecting someone?"

I suspect that this singular-y'all is limited to certain registers and that's

why some of us y'all-users feel that it isn't regularly used in the singular.

This evening I had a clear instance. As I recall, when this item was

discussed before, most of the examples were from service register. One

example was from the Chair of an English Department in a Southern university.

It seems to me that in Southern interchanges a "boss" -- even a univ dept

chair -- might consider an employee's salary as applying to a family and not

just to the individual, especially if benefits are part of the discussion. The

dept Chair of course was not using a Cracker Barrel service register.

I hope someone surrounded by y'all-speakers is collecting data from students

and the locale. Would spouses use 'y'all' to refer to each other in conver-

sation? Two people on a date, dating in any of the contemporary patterns?

The register distribution of this item can't be simple, whether the reference

is singular or plural.