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A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).

Postby Mama » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:43 am

"My position on this topic of regional dialects is that regional dialects are more than proper - they are essential and thus desirable - in spoken English, but have no place in written English or the spoken English used in extraregional or national oulets, except when used for effect."

I think that sounds about right.
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Postby beck123 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:59 am

Well, thank you Mama. We newbies must stick together.

Maybe I missed all the action, but it seems to me that in a discussion of the differences between Northern and Southern (or any other) dialects of U.S. English, the second-person-plural pronoun issue should hold a prominent position. The underlying source of the issue is a defect in modern English, wherein the singular and plural of the second-person pronouns are identical: you, and you. I've always been interested in how various regional groups (some quite small, geographically) have compensated for this defect.

I'd like to expound on this, but maybe it's been discussed elsewhere in this forum.
Beck

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Postby Mama » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:53 pm

Yes, where is that thread on y'all, you guys, yunz, etc.?
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Postby Slava » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:26 pm

Mama wrote:Yes, where is that thread on y'all, you guys, yunz, etc.?
Y'all probably wants to check out this section: http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewforum.php?f=12

Lots o' fun there.

Welcome to the club, beck123. Hope to hear more from you. Good work on resurrecting Mama, too.
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Postby beck123 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:55 pm

Well, I couldn't find it there, which isn't to say it isn't there, so I'll just start rambling here.

To distinguish the plural from the singular in the second person, we have (for example) the following:

1) The classic "y'all," a valid contraction of "you all." That makes sense to me. "All y'all" (which floored me when I first hear it, standing in the check-out line of a Winn-Dixie in Deland, Florida many years ago) is redundant and therefore improper in my opinion. In constructions such as "some of you must leave" and "all of you must leave," the personal pronoun is clearly plural and so needs no clarification.

2) The urban "yooz." This is a comical misspelling of "yous," which I believe is a logical and valid pluralization of "you." We express the plural in English most simply by adding "s," and that is what speakers have done in this case to distinguish the plural pronoun from the singular. "Yous guys" is probably redundant and therefore improper, although "you people" is a similar construction that (until recently) was acceptable as a way to distinguish the singular from the plural and from the rhetorical. Lately, the latter phrase has taken on a negative, maybe racial, connotation, however improbable that seems, which is too bad, because we don't need to lose good ways to distinguish the pronouns in the second person.

More later...
Beck

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Postby Mama » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:01 pm

We recently visited a restaurant in Alabama, where the waitress said, "I'll get y'all's check," when we were ready to leave. Now, I guess that makes sense, in a weird sort of way, but it surprised me to hear it. I would have said "your check", which could be construed as either singular or plural possessive. But as she meant the check for all of you, y'all's was probably the correct way to word that, using the southern dialect.
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Postby Slava » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:14 pm

When my parents moved to Nashville, where my father taught at Vanderbilt, they went shopping one day. My mother needed a new dress and found one she liked. The salesgirl asked, "Y'all want to try that on?" My father responded, "No, just my wife."
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Postby Mama » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:36 pm

Oh, that's funny. I'll bet the salesgirl didn't "get it".
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