Date: Sat, 7 May 1994 19:11:03 CDT
From: "Donald M. Lance" ENGDL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MIZZOU1.BITNET
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.