Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 10:34:59 -0400 From: "M. Lynne Murphy" <104LYN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA> Subject: Re: y'all are crazy It may appear at times > that "y'all" is being used in the singular, but I assure you that is not > the case. I liked Tom Wharriet's explanation of the implied plural > meaning "you and yours." I think that thorough research would conclude > that there is always some implied or connoted plural meaning even when it > might seem otherwise. 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. lynne --------------------------------------------------------------------- M. Lynne Murphy 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340 University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-4199 Johannesburg 2050 SOUTH AFRICA