Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 06:27:16 MST
From: Tom Uharriet UTOM[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ADMN.712.NEBO.EDU
Subject: Re: y'all, singular usage?
Believe it or not, the second person pronoun 'y'all' is a hot
MEDTEXTL, evolving from a discussion of second person pronouns and their
usage in Medieval English, French, modern German, etc. The question is
whether 'y'all' is used for the singular. We have heard strong voices on
both sides of the question, ranging from witness accounts of having heard
it recently to experienced speakers never having heard it. Is there a
reliable account of the phenomenom or is anyone working on it these days?
How strange. When I've heard _y'all_ addressed to individuals, I
have always assumed an implied plural as in
Door-to-door sales rep. to individual resident at the door:
"Can y'all use a savings on . . ."
(meaning, "Can you and yours use a savings on . . .")
As for using it without an implied plural, the proscriptionist in me
calls it an error in the same way that I sometimes hear _ye_
missused or missunderstood.
utom[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]admn.712.nebo.edu