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Why isn't "y'all" a word?

Republican95
Posts: 111
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12/7/2009 6:57:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Being a southerner throughout my entire life, the word y'all has always been in my vocabulary. However, my English I teacher, Ms. Kilpatrick, is a recent immigrant from Vermont. Oh Lord! Mississippi English makes her cringe.

Today we had an interesting conversastion about the word "y'all". For y'all that don't know "y'all" is used cheifly in the southern United States as a plural second-person pronoun. Ms. Kilpatrick believes that there is something grammartically wrong with the word.

My question to her: What's wrong with it? I mean it is slang and all, but nothing is intristically wrong with the English of it. It is simply a contraction of the words "You all". Why do people have a problem with the word y'all?

Do you? Miss Kilpatrick does...

Is there anything gramarically wrong with y'all?
Harlan
Posts: 1,880
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12/7/2009 7:08:23 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 6:57:25 PM, Republican95 wrote:
Being a southerner throughout my entire life, the word y'all has always been in my vocabulary. However, my English I teacher, Ms. Kilpatrick, is a recent immigrant from Vermont. Oh Lord! Mississippi English makes her cringe.

Today we had an interesting conversastion about the word "y'all". For y'all that don't know "y'all" is used cheifly in the southern United States as a plural second-person pronoun. Ms. Kilpatrick believes that there is something grammartically wrong with the word.

My question to her: What's wrong with it? I mean it is slang and all, but nothing is intristically wrong with the English of it. It is simply a contraction of the words "You all". Why do people have a problem with the word y'all?

Do you? Miss Kilpatrick does...

Is there anything gramarically wrong with y'all?

I don't use it personally but I think it's a useful and necessary contraction of "you all." It's not a "word" though. A contraction is simply that. And by the nature of contractions, it's silly to call them incorrect as not being words. It represents two words which do exist in the english language.
leet4A1
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12/7/2009 7:15:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Y'all, like "you all", is not grammatically correct because it is superfluous. The word "you" implies "you all".
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

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leet4A1
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12/7/2009 7:16:26 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
While we're on the subject of contractions, I've often wondered why "won't" is a contraction for "will not". Shouldn't it be "willn't"?
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5
wjmelements
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12/7/2009 7:54:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
In German, they have a separate word for the plural of you.

Y'all comes in handy. I use it all of the time.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
leet4A1
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12/7/2009 7:58:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:35:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 12/7/2009 7:15:09 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
Y'all, like "you all", is not grammatically correct because it is superfluous. The word "you" implies "you all".

I don't think that's necessarily true. You can be used a singular second-person pronoun, also.

Yeah, that's it's main function, but situation tends to dictate whether you mean singular or plural.
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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12/7/2009 8:03:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:16:26 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
While we're on the subject of contractions, I've often wondered why "won't" is a contraction for "will not". Shouldn't it be "willn't"?

It's archaic; based of wynnot, which shifted to wonnot.
PoeJoe
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12/7/2009 8:04:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:15:09 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
Y'all, like "you all", is not grammatically correct because it is superfluous. The word "you" implies "you all".

Not true.

You can force an ambiguity between the two 'you's: http://www.debate.org...
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Ragnar_Rahl
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12/7/2009 8:57:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
You suck.

See? ambiguous. I could mean you all in which case your response is FUUUUUUUUUUUU. I could mean Poejoe in which case your response is a slow "Oh, ok, true," nod. (Just kidding Poejoe). Due to the lack of a distinction between singular and plural, you (Also ambiguous) don't know how to respond.
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PoeJoe
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12/7/2009 9:06:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 8:57:06 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
You suck.

See? ambiguous. I could mean you all in which case your response is FUUUUUUUUUUUU. I could mean Poejoe in which case your response is a slow "Oh, ok, true," nod. (Just kidding Poejoe). Due to the lack of a distinction between singular and plural, you (Also ambiguous) don't know how to respond.

I wrote up a response here, but it soon became ridiculously long.

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raindrpdew
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12/8/2009 8:16:33 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:54:47 PM, wjmelements wrote:
In German, they have a separate word for the plural of you.

Y'all comes in handy. I use it all of the time.

but sometimes i like to say you guys.
sometimes i wish..i had a kung-fu grip..

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mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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12/8/2009 8:34:51 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:15:09 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
Y'all, like "you all", is not grammatically correct because it is superfluous. The word "you" implies "you all".

it doesn't do so absolutely, it's ambiguous and "y'all" specifies it.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

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mattrodstrom
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12/8/2009 8:43:35 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
on a kind of related bit:

In my logic class of a while ago,

"or" was held to mean: either one (individually), or both. So it included "and"

But I think this is ridiculous as if that is what we mean we specify with "and/or", and thus "or" is used only for "either one or the other (but not both)"

There is no pupose in having "or" mean both:
"either one or the other (individually)" And, "both"

specifying if you mean both is more useful.

Does anyone have a better understanding than I do on why logicians say this??
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Sylux
Posts: 290
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12/8/2009 9:12:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Yeah, they do it because they can.
"Can you see? Do you know?
The string behind you, it's shiny and pretty.
Where is my string.
Give me because I don't know.
Give me your string.
Give me everything."
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Puck
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12/8/2009 9:28:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/8/2009 8:43:35 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
on a kind of related bit:

In my logic class of a while ago,

"or" was held to mean: either one (individually), or both. So it included "and"

But I think this is ridiculous as if that is what we mean we specify with "and/or", and thus "or" is used only for "either one or the other (but not both)"

There is no pupose in having "or" mean both:
"either one or the other (individually)" And, "both"

specifying if you mean both is more useful.

Does anyone have a better understanding than I do on why logicians say this??

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

vs.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Sylux
Posts: 290
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12/8/2009 9:30:34 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Wikipedia is NOT a source.
Lawman says so.
"Can you see? Do you know?
The string behind you, it's shiny and pretty.
Where is my string.
Give me because I don't know.
Give me your string.
Give me everything."
-grasshoppa
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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12/8/2009 9:51:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/8/2009 9:28:00 AM, Puck wrote:

As for "and/or" not being "proper english" you can also write it properly.

"One or the other, or both."

And yes I know that translating english directly into logical equations isn't straightforward b/c of the nature of english, but english is comprehensible b/c of patterns that we pick up on, one of those being that "or" is exclusive unless additionally specified

Though I guess the statement: "I don't step in puddles or mud" kind of shows why it's not just exclusive but extends over both. Though it's different from most others in that its listing things which have that attribute instead of giving options of some kind....

I guess it's because english is all mixed up.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
crackofdawn_Jr
Posts: 1,350
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12/8/2009 2:17:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:16:26 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
While we're on the subject of contractions, I've often wondered why "won't" is a contraction for "will not". Shouldn't it be "willn't"?

I believe (I may be wrong) that "won't" is used because it is easier to pronounce and flows better than "willn't". As the purpose of contractions is to increase the flow and ease of speaking, creating a contraction such as "willn't" defeats the purpose.
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"Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
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"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."
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leet4A1
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12/8/2009 2:27:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/8/2009 2:17:40 PM, crackofdawn_Jr wrote:
At 12/7/2009 7:16:26 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
While we're on the subject of contractions, I've often wondered why "won't" is a contraction for "will not". Shouldn't it be "willn't"?

I believe (I may be wrong) that "won't" is used because it is easier to pronounce and flows better than "willn't". As the purpose of contractions is to increase the flow and ease of speaking, creating a contraction such as "willn't" defeats the purpose.

Nah Puck's answer (on page 1 of this thread) is correct... I've since Googled it.
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5
crackofdawn_Jr
Posts: 1,350
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12/8/2009 2:45:58 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/8/2009 2:27:45 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
At 12/8/2009 2:17:40 PM, crackofdawn_Jr wrote:
At 12/7/2009 7:16:26 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
While we're on the subject of contractions, I've often wondered why "won't" is a contraction for "will not". Shouldn't it be "willn't"?

I believe (I may be wrong) that "won't" is used because it is easier to pronounce and flows better than "willn't". As the purpose of contractions is to increase the flow and ease of speaking, creating a contraction such as "willn't" defeats the purpose.

Nah Puck's answer (on page 1 of this thread) is correct... I've since Googled it.

Cool, now I know.
There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"
-Mark Twain

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success"

"Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
- William Shakespeare

"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."
- Adolf Hitler
Republican95
Posts: 111
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12/8/2009 2:55:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/7/2009 7:15:09 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
Y'all, like "you all", is not grammatically correct because it is superfluous. The word "you" implies "you all".

You is mostly used in a singular sense. As in "You need to do your homeworK". However, if, for instance, a teacher wanted to convey the thought that the entire class needs to do their homework, it might be more efficent to say "Y'all need to do your homework".

As to my knowledge, the only state in which the majority of the population uses "You" as a plural second person pronoun is Rhode Island. Most of the country uses "You Guys" or "You All" and of course the souther combines the two to make it "Y'all".
AllCountry
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7/9/2016 6:29:23 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
First time on web site. I realize this is a 6 year old post. How ever y'all, forced me to comment. "Down Here" folks,y'all is a word. If you dont like it, Y'all can keep your a____ up in snowville! [A Southern Man don't need you or y'all around anyhow!!!] (copyR. Mr. Ronnie VanZant)
AllCountry
RyuuKyuzo
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7/10/2016 5:49:37 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
It's actually sort of odd that in english there is no single word for "you" in the plural sense. I know french, spanish, portuguese, and Italian (of which I speak) all have a word for "you all" and conjugate verbs entirely differently for "you" singular vs "you" plural.

For example,

Tu mangi gatti?
Voi Mangiate gatti?

In standard english these sentences would translate to the same thing, even though they aren't the same. Only the southern North Americans have a dialect of English robust enough to capture the nuance of these two very important sentences.
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lannan13
Posts: 23,017
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7/10/2016 2:43:09 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/10/2016 5:49:37 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
It's actually sort of odd that in english there is no single word for "you" in the plural sense. I know french, spanish, portuguese, and Italian (of which I speak) all have a word for "you all" and conjugate verbs entirely differently for "you" singular vs "you" plural.

For example,

Tu mangi gatti?
Voi Mangiate gatti?

In standard english these sentences would translate to the same thing, even though they aren't the same. Only the southern North Americans have a dialect of English robust enough to capture the nuance of these two very important sentences.

People on the Eastern Seaboard say 'yous.'
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Vox_Veritas
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7/13/2016 3:19:59 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/10/2016 5:49:37 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
It's actually sort of odd that in english there is no single word for "you" in the plural sense. I know french, spanish, portuguese, and Italian (of which I speak) all have a word for "you all" and conjugate verbs entirely differently for "you" singular vs "you" plural.

For example,

Tu mangi gatti?
Voi Mangiate gatti?

In standard english these sentences would translate to the same thing, even though they aren't the same. Only the southern North Americans have a dialect of English robust enough to capture the nuance of these two very important sentences.

"Ye" was the plural form of you long ago. We should really bring that word back into common use.
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Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/16/2016 4:22:42 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 12/7/2009 6:57:25 PM, Republican95 wrote:
Being a southerner throughout my entire life, the word y'all has always been in my vocabulary. However, my English I teacher, Ms. Kilpatrick, is a recent immigrant from Vermont. Oh Lord! Mississippi English makes her cringe.

Today we had an interesting conversastion about the word "y'all". For y'all that don't know "y'all" is used cheifly in the southern United States as a plural second-person pronoun. Ms. Kilpatrick believes that there is something grammartically wrong with the word.

My question to her: What's wrong with it? I mean it is slang and all, but nothing is intristically wrong with the English of it. It is simply a contraction of the words "You all". Why do people have a problem with the word y'all?

Do you? Miss Kilpatrick does...

Is there anything gramarically wrong with y'all?

One word: No.

It's natural for a language without a second-person plural pronoun to develop one. After English dropped the you/thou distinction, it resulted in an inconsistent paradigm, and language has a natural tendency to ease that out. It is for the same reason that English developed the voiced palatoalveolar fricative to create a voiced/voiceless pair with the voiceless one.
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