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USAGE: Singular <y'all>? (was Re: Californian vowels [was Re: Liking German])

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 2, 2001, 5:52
Quoting Steve Kramer <scooter@...>:

> On Tue, 2 Oct 2001, Thomas R. Wier wrote: > > > Quoting Steve Kramer <scooter@...>: > > > > > As the popular North Carolina joke goes, "'Y'all' is singular. > 'All > > > y'all' is plural." :-) And yes, I have heard examples of both in > > > everyday Southern speech. > > > > So, do you use <y'all> yourself? > > Once in a great while, depending on the company. (And yes, as a > singular, too.) Marylanders are neither North nor South - as we continually > have to remind the Pennsylvanians and Virginians. :-)
This is my point. How can people claim to know what they're hearing when by their own admission they do not use that word? There are nuances to its use that I've already alluded to. Moreover, some Southern dialects have "deviant" vowels for <you> which can easily be confused for <y'all>. Things like: [jEu], [j@u] [ji-w], [jou], etc. If you're not paying careful attention to these things, they can easily be mistaken, especially if that same dialect strongly velarizes its l's postvocalically. That can, and does, obliterate the distinction in the first place. Ah, if only Nik were not on vacation! :)
> A friend of mine tells a story of his father, who was in the Army > during the 1950's. His unit consisted of the products of two recruiting > stations: one in Brooklyn, the other in South Carolina. He was a > Marylander - the lone exception. After just a few days, he realized > what his job was...he was the interpreter. :-)
Charleston and New York City are indeed famous as islands of dialect weirdness. ============================== Thomas Wier <trwier@...> "If a man demands justice, not merely as an abstract concept, but in setting up the life of a society, and if he holds, further, that within that society (however defined) all men have equal rights, then the odds are that his views, sooner rather than later, are going to set something or someone on fire." Peter Green, in _From Alexander to Actium_, on Spartan king Cleomenes III


Tristan Alexander McLeay <zsau@...>
Tristan Alexander McLeay <zsau@...>