Re: USAGE: Y'all [was Re: varia]
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, February 13, 2005, 5:19|
> Just to chime in here - I was born in Massachussetts but raised from
> age 2 in Georgia by parents who were born in Virginia but raised in
> the Midwest. So it would not be surprising if my 'lect were a bit
> more muddled than most.
Yeah, my mother is from Waco and my father from Houston, so I'm
not a very interesting case.
Not to belabor a point, I found the journal article referred
in that news article I mentioned the other day. It's in the _Journal
of English Linguistics_, from 2000. I've saved the PDF and y'all
can access it here:
The spread of <y'all> beyond the South is really even more breathtaking
than I had ever suspected. According to that article, not only do
approximately 80% of Southerners use <y'all>, nearly 50% of non-Southerners
do too. That means that there are upwards of 170-180 million people in
the United States who use <y'all>, which is a number greater than all
German speakers, or all French speakers, and almost as many people
as speak Bengali or Hindi, and greater than the populations of the UK,
Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand put together. I had always
thought the number of users of the pronoun to be no higher than 110-120
Its spread is apparently linked to no clear factor other than age
and region; non-Southerners who are 65+ years are unlikely to use it
ever (only 6.78% do so), but the percentage increases greatly going
down by age, such that approx. 42.68% of the under-24s use it.
Also, people from the montanian west and all the states that border
the South are more likely to use it than any of the traditional North
or California and (strangely to me) Nevada; but as people in this
forum have stated, it exists even in those places where it's resisted.
Their data as to how <y'all> is actually used outside the South is
less certain, but their preliminary and somewhat anecdotal research
suggests that it has the same functional distribution that it does
in the South. As they say in the article, all these facts suggest
that, for younger speakers especially, <y'all> has lost or is losing
its connotation of Southernness and is becoming simply an Americanism.
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637