Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 08:39:10 -0400
From: "M. Lynne Murphy" 104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA
Subject: Re: y'all are crazy
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.
no, i'm referring to things like french _vous_, german _Sie_, and in
(at least some) bantu languages noun class2 (human, plural), instead
of NC1 (human, singular) as an honorific (refering to "father" as
"fathers", etc.). there are other e.g.s (was old english like
this?), that i can't recall off-hand.
larry horn's point, that at least the plural "you" cases (french,
german, etc.) seem to be negative politeness strategies, while y'all
is claimed to be used in solidarity building (positive politeness)
contexts, is, however, an important one. IF there is a plural
"y'all" (and i'm suspicious that the southerners doth protest too
much!) and IF it is a (positive) politeness marker, then this
certainly would be an interesting addition to the data base.