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. 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