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Encyclopedia > Y'all
Water tower in Florence, Kentucky featuring the word y'all. The city originally painted the tower to read "Florence Mall" as part of their agreement to lease the land from the mall for the tower. Because the tower was painted before the mall was finished, it violated state highway laws, so they changed the wording from "FLORENCE MALL" to "FLORENCE Y'ALL" to avoid having to repaint the entire tower.
Water tower in Florence, Kentucky featuring the word y'all. The city originally painted the tower to read "Florence Mall" as part of their agreement to lease the land from the mall for the tower. Because the tower was painted before the mall was finished, it violated state highway laws, so they changed the wording from "FLORENCE MALL" to "FLORENCE Y'ALL" to avoid having to repaint the entire tower.

Y'all, sometimes misspelled as "Ya'll", "Yawl", or "Yaw", and archaically spelled "You-all", is a fused grammaticalization of the phrase "you all". It is used primarily as a plural second-person pronoun, and less commonly as a singular second-person pronoun. Commonly believed to have originated in the Southern United States, it is primarily associated with Southern American English, African American Vernacular English, and some dialects of the Western United States.[1] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Florence is a city located in Boone County, Kentucky. ... In language, an archaism is the deliberate use of an older form that has fallen out of current use. ... Grammaticalisation, also referred to as Grammaticalization, Grammatisation or Grammatization is a theory describing the change of a content word (lexical morpheme) into a function word or grammatical affix. ... Look up Plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Plural is a grammatical number, typically referring to more than one of the referent in the real world. ... Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to the participant role of a referent, such as the speaker, the addressee, and others. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... The word singular may refer to one of several concepts. ... Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to the participant role of a referent, such as the speaker, the addressee, and others. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... This article is 88 kilobytes or more in size. ... Southern American English as defined by the monophthongization of to before obstruents (Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2006:126). ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contents

Usage

There are currently six recognized properties that y'all follows[2]:

  1. a replacement for plural you
    • Example: "Y'all can use the internet at the same time"
  2. an associative plural, including individuals associated but not present with the singular addressee
    • Example: "We're free after 10," John says. "Y'all can come over at around 10:30," Chris replies.
      • Chris explains to John that he and John's friends, who are not present at the time, can come over at around 10:30. Chris is speaking to John, but treats John as a representative for others (i.e. his friends).
  3. an institutional plural addressed to one person representing a group
    • Example: "Y'all sell the best candies in the south, Mrs. Jo Jelly."
      • Y'all is received by Mrs. Johnson who is the representative of a small candy business
  4. an unknown potential referent
    • Example: At the sky, Alex yells "Y'all can't beat me!"
      • Alex is yelling at an unknown party
  5. a form used in direct address in certain contexts (e.g., partings, greetings, invitations, and vocatives)
    • Example: "Howdy, Y'all"
      • A greeting that addresses a multitude of people without referencing a singular identity comprising that multitude
  6. a stylistic choice distinct in tone (e.g., in intimacy, familiarity, and informality)
    • Example: "You all look tough, but y'all aren't!"
      • Y'all enables a quick four syllable clause that is easier to say than "but you all aren't."

Y'all is also used in the phrase "all y'all", which is a more inclusive form comparable to "all of you". Note that we can be used as the first-person analog of y'all for the first three properties listed above.


Origin

It is a common belief that y'all was invented by people in the Southern United States as a replacement for "you all" due to its convenience. Rather than say you all, you-uns, you lot, or you guys, y'all may be construed as a single element requiring only one morpheme. This article is 88 kilobytes or more in size. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ...


Controversy

The stress pattern of y'all does not favor the contraction you+all because it would likely derive you'll instead of y'all.[citation needed] While the archaic spelling you-all would seem to indicate that the convenience of pronunciation superseded this stress pattern, some have suggested other origins. Some put the apostrophe after the 'a' (e.g. ya'll), suggesting that y'all is a contraction for ya all. This is illustrated in the Texas phrase "Ya'll come back now, ya hear!" and a recent Best Western advertisement. [3] However, some suggest the possibility that y'all derives from the Scots-Irish ye aw.[4] The invention of y'all in this form could be traced to the influence of African slaves.[5] There appears to be an increasing tendency, especially on the Internet, to spell it without the apostrophe, yall, which if it becomes common usage would make it a standard pronoun, rather like Dutch jullie. [3] Scots-Irish (also called Ulster Scots) is a Scottish ethnic group that historically resided in Ireland which ultimately traces its roots back to settlers from Scotland, and to a lesser extent, England. ...


There is also a long disagreement about whether y'all can have primarily singular reference. While y'all is generally used in the Southern United States as the plural form of "you" a scant but vocal minority (for example, Eric Hyman[6]) argue that the term can be used in the singular. Adding confusion to this issue is that observers attempting to judge usage may witness a single person addressed as y'all if the speaker implies in the reference other persons not present: "Did y'all [you and others] have dinner yet?" (to which the answer would be, "Yes, we have", even though a single person has answered.)


It has been argued by one linguist that the singular y'all is in reality a polite form of address, corresponding to 'vous' in French, 'usted' in Spanish, and 'Sie' in German. [7]


And a few have noted what this linguist states in the following quote: That y'all or you-all cannot have primarily singular reference ...

is a cardinal article of faith in the South. ... Nevertheless, it has been questioned very often, and with a considerable showing of evidence. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, to be sure, you-all indicates a plural, implicit if not explicit, and thus means, when addressed to a single person, 'you and your folks' or the like, but the hundredth time it is impossible to discover any such extension of meaning.

H.L. Mencken, The American language : an inquiry into the development of English in the United States, 1948, p.337 H. L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (September 12, 1880 - January 29, 1956) was a twentieth century journalist and social critic, a cynic and a freethinker, known as the Sage of Baltimore and the American Nietzsche. He is often regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the early 20th...

References

  1. ^ Bernstein, Cynthia: "Grammatical Features of Southern speech: Yall, Might could, and fixin to". English in the Southern United States, 2003, pp. 106 Cambridge University Press
  2. ^ Ching, Marvin K. L.: "Plural You/Y'all Variation by a Court Judge: Situational Use". American Speech - Volume 76, Number 2, Summer 2001, pp. 115-127 Duke University Press
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Bernstein, Cynthia: "Grammatical Features of Southern Speech: Yall, Might could, and fixin to". English in the Southern United States, 2003, pp. 108-109 Cambridge University Press
  5. ^ Lipski, John. 1993. "Y'all in American English," English World-Wide 14:23-56.
  6. ^ [2] Hyman, Eric: "The All of You-all", American Speech 81:3(2006)
  7. ^ Estelle Rees Morrison: "You-all and we-all", American Speech 2:133, 1926

See also


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Yall Project Report: Evaluating ASP.NET - Kalid Azad, Jacob Weiss (5709 words)
Yall is a group messaging and event scheduling service, developed during Spring 2003 for a class project.
In our experience with Yall, we’ve found that interfaces can require as much or more tweaking than the code, so this separation is very valuable.
We first developed Yall with PHP during the school year, and we recreated it over the summer with ASP.NET.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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