Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 13:17:57 MST
From: Tom Uharriet UTOM[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ADMN.712.NEBO.EDU
Subject: Re: y'all are crazy
in lotsa languages (and so many unrelated ones that this seems not
to be an entirely arbitrary association), the plural form implies
politeness--couldn't this be what is going on? seems to go with what
was said about salesmen and friendly people using it, but not the
police officer who's caught you doing something naughty.
I don't know about Lynne's South African usages. From what I have
heard around here, polite plural forms are in the first person. The
element of politeness is in the inclusion of self--which makes it
plural. Hence, "we" cannot say that y'all fits this pattern.