When my family sat down at the table in ‘The Egg and I” cafe in Boulder last week, the waitress dropped off the menus and said, “I’ll come back to help yall in a minute.” As someone who has been tracking the spread of the new pronoun yall (2nd person plural personal) for some time now (see my article and blog entry), I was curious as to where our waitress had picked it up.
When she returned, I learned that she had spent most of her life in Colorado but had been born and spent a few years in Utah and Arizona. Her family as far as she could remember came from California. Since US dialects only made it as far as the Mississippi except for the southern one, which made it as far as Texas, yall should not be in these far western states.
Yet, it is there, further supporting my points: (1) The language has been in need of a 2nd person plural personal pronoun since the thou–you distinction broke down ages ago and (2) yall is the best candidate for the job: youse (New York, New Jersey) and yuns (Pennsylvania) are losing out.
I told you so.