PDA

View Full Version : Attention All American Southerners - Assistance in the Book Club Department, please!



Perks
02-15-2010, 07:59 PM
Okay, so I brought up what I find to be a curious error in Stephen King's, Under The Dome, and I need some Southern-style back up (or smackdown, if I'm wrong.)

It's from this post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4641078&postcount=81), but here's the pertinent part -


But then there's this -

"Kid, listen to me. Y'all drop down on your knees and--"

and

"Kid? Would y'all stop doing that? It's driving me bugshit."

and

"Why y'all doin' it?" the Army guy asked.

and

"Why don't y'all quit it on the rocks and do somethin about those cows?"



Now in each case above, it's one guy (from the South) outside the Dome speaking to a kid, all by himself, on the inside of the Dome. I know that Maine is very far away from the South, but regardless of where you are and assuming you've ever spoken to an American Southerner or seen a film depiction of one, I'm still guessing you can see what the trouble is with his usage of "y'all". It's just weird to me that no one in the process didn't say, "Um, Steve, 'y'all' is a collective. You don't address or instruct one person as 'y'all'." "Y'all" is completely interchangeable with its Northern idiomatic equivalent "you guys." So, if you were telling one kid to stop throwing rocks against the Dome, you'd never say, "Why don't you guys quit it on the rocks and do somethin' about those cows?"

Odd. Odd, odd, odd. Perhaps when you're as big as Stephen King, you don't get edited. So, in the American South, is "y'all" ever used to address or instruct one person? My experience of nearly forty years below the Mason-Dixon line tells me no, but I'll admit I'm a pretty Yank-ified Southerner.

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:03 PM
"Y'all" can be singular or plural, even though logic says it's plural. For real (or, "f'reel" as they say here).

All y'all = all of you
Y'all're = you are
Y'all'll = you will
Y'all's = singular or plural possessive

F'reel

EDIT: Granted, these might be Mississippiisms. The Carolinas and Virginia have more east coast than Southern accents.

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:07 PM
Not normally, but people sometimes intentionally adopt a sort of overdone way of using slang, much the same way a drawn-out drawl is sometimes used.

King seems to like using over-the-top southern dialect anyway.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:13 PM
So you would address one person as 'y'all'?
"Y'all" can be singular or plural, even though logic says it's plural. For real (or, "f'reel" as they say here).

All y'all = all of you
Y'all're = you are
Y'all'll = you will
Y'all's = singular or plural possessive

F'reel

EDIT: Granted, these might be Mississippiisms. The Carolinas and Virginia have more east coast than Southern accents.

rhymegirl
02-15-2010, 08:13 PM
"Y'all" can be singular or plural, even though logic says it's plural. For real (or, "f'reel" as they say here).

All y'all = all of you
Y'all're = you are
Y'all'll = you will
Y'all's = singular or plural possessive

F'reel

EDIT: Granted, these might be Mississippiisms. The Carolinas and Virginia have more east coast than Southern accents.

Thank you.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:15 PM
Thank you.Congratulations.

backslashbaby
02-15-2010, 08:17 PM
No!!!!!! Never, ever, ever. Silliest thing I've ever heard. Y'all is totally plural -- "all y'all" even more so :D

But I hear they do it wrong in Texas. Mississippi, too? Oh, my.

Wayne K
02-15-2010, 08:21 PM
The wife says "Y'all" is plural. She's from Georgia. It's plural for "You all."

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:22 PM
So you would address one person as 'y'all'?

It's not always done, but people do it. As a Yankee myself it confused me and doesn't make logical sense, but there it is. And it's not a racial expression, either. Both blacks and whites use it in this way.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:22 PM
No!!!!!! Never, ever, ever. Silliest thing I've ever heard. Y'all is totally plural -- "all y'all" even more so :D

But I hear they do it wrong in Texas. Mississippi, too? Oh, my.

I know. It's so strange. Not even in a film full of Steel Magnolias and Bull Durhams have I ever heard one person addressed as "y'all".

And I've lived in Texas and I've never heard it. Also in Louisiana. Never heard it there either.

Priene
02-15-2010, 08:23 PM
There's a controversy about this, says Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%27all).

NeuroFizz
02-15-2010, 08:25 PM
Agree with the pleural usage (even though I've been in NC for a little over five years). My little born-in-Arizona daughter let loose with a string of y'alls when she was playing in the snow with friends yesterday. Cute to the extreme, but in pleural context. It may depend on regional speakisms and education level. King may be over-doing it and misusing it in this case, though. Bless his heart...

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:25 PM
It's not always done, but people do it. As a Yankee myself it confused me and doesn't make logical sense, but there it is.

Oh god. You're a Yankee. (Not that I mind, it just doesn't give the credibility to the answer that it could. Your Yank ears may have misheard. ;) )

So we have North Carolina and Tennessee weighing in as no, it's not done that way. Here on my end, I've also secured South Carolina and Virginia.

It read as S. King making a giant, silly leap to make us think "cracker" when we saw Private Ames' in the book.

MacAllister
02-15-2010, 08:26 PM
My Texas family uses y'all as a multi-case singular or plural pronoun.

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:26 PM
I know. It's so strange. Not even in a film full of Steel Magnolias and Bull Durhams have I ever heard one person addressed as "y'all".

And I've lived in Texas and I've never heard it. Also in Louisiana. Never heard it there either.

I wouldn't go with Steel Magnolias as a yardstick. Not all Southern accents are the same, and each actress uses a different one. Jessica Simpson's coon-a** cajun accent in Dukes of Hazard should be a punishable offense for a movie set in Georgia.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:27 PM
Just as an aside, we have a terrific Indian restaurant here in Asheville and its tee-shirts say,


"Namaste, y'all"


lol! I need one of those.

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:27 PM
I know. It's so strange. Not even in a film full of Steel Magnolias and Bull Durhams have I ever heard one person addressed as "y'all".

And I've lived in Texas and I've never heard it. Also in Louisiana. Never heard it there either.
It wouldn't normally be used where I live either (excepted in the way I mentioned earlier; that is, intentionally misused).

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:28 PM
My Texas family uses y'all as a multi-case singular or plural pronoun.


Mac! What's a multi-case singular?

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:30 PM
Mac! What's a multi-case singular?
A bunch of people standing out in a field by themselves.

;-)

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:31 PM
There's a controversy about this, says Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%27all).

Ahhhh. So, here it is then. Sometimes Wikipedia is helpful -


Controversy

There is also a long-standing disagreement about whether y'all can have primarily singular reference. While y'all is generally held in the Southern United States to be usable only as the plural form of "you," a scant but vocal minority (for example, Eric Hyman<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-4">[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%27all#cite_note-4)</sup>, and most notably Seamus Riley<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-5">[6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%27all#cite_note-5)</sup> argue that the term can be used in the singular as well. 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: "Have y'all [you and others] had dinner yet?" (to which the answer would be, "Yes, we have", by a single person acting as spokesman for the group.)
H.L. Mencken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.L._Mencken) recognized that y'all or you-all will usually have a plural reference, but acknowledged singular reference use has been observed. He stated, appropriate use

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.

<cite>H.L. Mencken,The American Language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Language): An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States, 1948, p.337</cite>

tiny
02-15-2010, 08:32 PM
Kansas, so I'm not a southerner. Y'all was for groups, ya was for one. And yes, all y'all was for a large group. Like, all y'all can just kiss mah.... well you get it.

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:32 PM
Oh god. You're a Yankee. (Not that I mind, it just doesn't give the credibility to the answer that it could. Your Yank ears may have misheard. ;) )

People use it in this way. Sorry.

Not everyone does, though, and there is no socio-cultural reason for it that I can see. Certain people of all income levels, education and race use it. Those people who do use it use it consistently.


Just as an aside, we have a terrific Indian restaurant here in Asheville and its tee-shirts say,


"Namaste, y'all"

Asheville rocks!

In this case, y'all is used for emphasis.

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:33 PM
King may be over-doing it and misusing it in this case, though. Bless his heart...
He certainly overdid it in Lisa's Story.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:35 PM
Asheville rocks!Indeed it does. Prettiest place I've ever lived. Not in certain parts of course, but I've gotten used to it and it has revealed that, deep down, I'm some brand of optimist. Now I only see the pretty.

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 08:36 PM
I tend to just use y'all as singular. But I use bugshit often :)

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:37 PM
In this case, y'all is used for emphasis.

Nah, "Namaste, y'all" would translate basically to "greetings, everyone!"

backslashbaby
02-15-2010, 08:39 PM
It would be so strange here in NC, it'd be akin to talking to yourself out in public.

--"Akin" :) See what I did there? :D I'm betting all y'all might not say that one, either ;)

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 08:40 PM
It would be so strange here in NC, it'd be akin to talking to yourself out in public.

--"Akin" :) See what I did there? :D I'm betting all y'all might not say that one, either ;)

I reckon I might have seen whatchya did there.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:41 PM
I think I could maybe see it used as a general singular if you were calling out to no one in particular. Say, if the phone is ringing and you can't get to it, I could imagine hearing someone yell out, "Y'all get that, will ya?"

But if I was asking my daughter, who was the only other person in the room, to hand me the phone, I would never say, "Y'all bring me the phone."

I believe that it must happen in some small percentage, but given the reaction of most of the Southerners who have responded here and to my showing other crackers the pages, I feel justified in having thought it looks way off.

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:41 PM
I'm just waiting for someone to drop a "chicken-fried shit" comment into the discussion . . .

;-)

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:42 PM
Y'all fixin to catch a whoopin, now!

And this thread has 32 views and 31 posts. I think y'all touched a nerve.

NeuroFizz
02-15-2010, 08:42 PM
Not on the "akin" level yet, but I do mash buttons and pitch fits.

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 08:43 PM
Yes it looks off, unless he was talking to one kid about a group of people and he was the only one there.. if that makes any sense..

To add to the confusion, when I lived in NC, they didn't use y'all. They said y'uns. :D

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:43 PM
It would be so strange here in NC, it'd be akin to talking to yourself out in public.

--"Akin" :) See what I did there? :D I'm betting all y'all might not say that one, either ;)Lol! I like 'akin'. I don't say it often, but it's one of those Southern-isms I really like.

My writing buddy/critique partner is in England. Sometimes we come to an impasses over these things.

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 08:44 PM
Not on the "akin" level yet, but I do mash buttons and pitch fits.

I don't mash buttons, thank you very much. I maish'm.

Maish that button over yonder on the teevee. Mama needs to watch her stories.

MacAllister
02-15-2010, 08:45 PM
Mac! What's a multi-case singular?Sorry, not enough coffee, yet. Subjective or objective case, singular or plural

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:46 PM
It would be so strange here in NC, it'd be akin to talking to yourself out in public.

--"Akin" :) See what I did there? :D I'm betting all y'all might not say that one, either ;)

Akin didn't strike me as odd. I grew up in Iowa and now live in Mississippi. Akin is a very useful word. But I never heard "kin" in reference to relatives until moving here.

backslashbaby
02-15-2010, 08:46 PM
The Irish men looooved 'y'all' :) And I loooved 'Ye' or in some places, 'yous'. So I'd recommend any Southerner go.

But don't laugh when they all say 'reckon'. Oxford dons say 'reckon' [lol!!]

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:49 PM
Yes it looks off, unless he was talking to one kid about a group of people and he was the only one there.. if that makes any sense..

No, that definitely makes sense. (Sad that, really.) But the character was one guy speaking to one kid, who was all by himself, trying to get him to stop throwing rocks at the Dome in one scene - and then that same guy, on his own, talking to the same kid, all by himself ('cause he's damned near the last person alive and definitely the only living creature in the vicinity) instructing him to get down a clear some muck off the Dome so that he could try to help him.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:50 PM
Not on the "akin" level yet, but I do mash buttons and pitch fits.

I definitely pitch fits. Obviously.

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:51 PM
I definitely pitch fits. Obviously.

If you pitched fits you'd squall.

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:52 PM
The Irish men looooved 'y'all' :) And I loooved 'Ye' or in some places, 'yous'. So I'd recommend any Southerner go.

But don't laugh when they all say 'reckon'. Oxford dons say 'reckon' [lol!!]


Oh, I loved Ireland. But I don't really have a Southern accent, except when I say 'vehicle', so no one noticed me.

Hey, backslashbaby, I remember you as having just the light, mellow sort of Southern accent. I'll bet they loved you.

(Bsb and I attended the North Carolina Literary Festival together. She's big fun in a really small package.)

NeuroFizz
02-15-2010, 08:53 PM
Getting directions can be fun:

Go two look-sees* and swing a right. Y'know, where the Flying A fillin station was tore down.

I eventually found out a look-see was as far as you could see from your current position. And I seem to remember the family tree as: ExxonMobil=>=> Mobil=>=>Flying A, the last one dating back to the 1960s or so.

backslashbaby
02-15-2010, 08:53 PM
I didn't know fit-pitching was southern! Nor 'hushpuppies'. Seriously, I had no idea that everyone [American] didn't eat hushpuppies :D

ETA: Aw, bless your heart, Perks ;) Hee hee. I will call you sweet, though :) Very, very sweet!

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:53 PM
If you pitched fits you'd squall.I ain't squalled since I was a young'un.

(This is getting out of hand. Lol!)

Chris P
02-15-2010, 08:54 PM
Getting directions can be fun:



Not a southernism, but I get a kick out of being in a new town, and being told to turn where Cooper's Store used to be. "Oh, it burned down in the '70s, but you turn there..."

Perks
02-15-2010, 08:55 PM
Getting directions can be fun:

Go two look-sees* and swing a right. Y'know, where the Flying A fillin station was tore down.

I eventually found out a look-see was as far as you could see from your current position. And I seem to remember the family tree as: ExxonMobil=>=> Mobil=>=>Flying A, the last one dating back to the 1960s or so.God! I hate Southern directions. For the love of Pete, just tell me what road, left or right, and approximate distance (in miles or city blocks, ffs, not 'a ways' or 'a fair bit'.) Now there's a fit just waitin' t' be pitched. And I've lived here my whole life!

alleycat
02-15-2010, 08:59 PM
(This is getting out of hand. Lol!)
What a surprise.

Haggis
02-15-2010, 09:02 PM
Mac! What's a multi-case singular?

At least half a dozen twelve packs?

Perks
02-15-2010, 09:03 PM
At least half a dozen twelve packs?Ah! So it's a party waiting to happen. Sign me up then.

Wayne K
02-15-2010, 09:06 PM
Forget directions. Instead of "Have you had dinner yet?" they say "Jeet?

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 09:07 PM
Getting directions can be fun:

Go two look-sees* and swing a right. Y'know, where the Flying A fillin station was tore down.

I eventually found out a look-see was as far as you could see from your current position. And I seem to remember the family tree as: ExxonMobil=>=> Mobil=>=>Flying A, the last one dating back to the 1960s or so.


http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/8788/kittenlovethisthreadzh8.jpg

mscelina
02-15-2010, 09:11 PM
Grew up in Tennessee with bona fide Southern money on one side and ridge-running hillrat on the other. "Y'all" is only used as plural by anyone I've ever known. (Caveat: although I was spared most of the Southern idioms by benefit of being brought up in a bi-lingual home, y'all is the only Southernism I've not been able to pry out of my vocabulary after fifteen years of torture among the Ohio Yankees.)

Medievalist
02-15-2010, 09:14 PM
Indeed it does. Prettiest place I've ever lived. Not in certain parts of course, but I've gotten used to it and it has revealed that, deep down, I'm some brand of optimist. Now I only see the pretty.

Asheville! Y'all have redbud AND dogwood.

If you look at transcripts of how people actually talk--court cases are good for this, you will hear y'all as a singular.

In most cases, the use falls into one of these two categories:

Courtesy plural--That is, you know darn well that there's only one person, (doing something wrong, or unusual) and the speaker is attempting to create "courtesy space" around the person.

Representative member--there is one person to be addressed, but that person is representative of a class of people.

CheekyWench
02-15-2010, 09:16 PM
Oh, I loved Ireland. But I don't really have a Southern accent, except when I say 'vehicle', so no one noticed me.

Hey, backslashbaby, I remember you as having just the light, mellow sort of Southern accent. I'll bet they loved you.

(Bsb and I attended the North Carolina Literary Festival together. She's big fun in a really small package.)

vee-hickle?

Wayne K
02-15-2010, 09:16 PM
Representative member--there is one person to be addressed, but that person is representative of a class of people.
Like "Y'all New Yorkers?"

Perks
02-15-2010, 09:18 PM
vee-hickle?No, apparently it's a bit more Miss Scarlett "vay-heckle". Of course, I don't think I do it, but I've been teased about it.

Perks
02-15-2010, 09:19 PM
If you look at transcripts of how people actually talk--court cases are good for this, you will hear y'all as a singular.

In most cases, the use falls into one of these two categories:

Courtesy plural--That is, you know darn well that there's only one person, (doing something wrong, or unusual) and the speaker is attempting to create "courtesy space" around the person.

Representative member--there is one person to be addressed, but that person is representative of a class of people.No, that definitely makes some sort of sense. Even given that, though, Stephen King still basically got the usage wrong. All his editors must be Yankees.

alleycat
02-15-2010, 09:20 PM
sensuous. Used in a sentence: Sensuous up anyway, get me another beer.

Perks
02-15-2010, 09:22 PM
sensuous. Used in a sentence: Sensuous up anyway, get me another beer.:roll:

And I do not break out the rolling smiley lightly.

backslashbaby
02-15-2010, 09:28 PM
Grew up in Tennessee with bona fide Southern money on one side and ridge-running hillrat on the other. "Y'all" is only used as plural by anyone I've ever known. (Caveat: although I was spared most of the Southern idioms by benefit of being brought up in a bi-lingual home, y'all is the only Southernism I've not been able to pry out of my vocabulary after fifteen years of torture among the Ohio Yankees.)

My favorite thing in the world is hearing a Yankee say 'y'all' accidentally for the first time after moving down here. 'Tis a thing of beauty :D

Cranky
02-15-2010, 09:30 PM
Since the Great Y'all Debate seems to be settled, I'm just posting to note that more Mississippi seems to have sunk into my Midwestern roots than I realized. (My mother's family hails from there aways up the family tree, & Gram used to spend summers down there) I grew up hearing and using so many of these things, and the time I spent in the South only exaggerated my usage, hee. Sounds a bit weird in a Midwestern twang, though, I'll bet. :D

alleycat
02-15-2010, 09:32 PM
True story. When I was a kid there used to be another kid from Michigan who would come and stay with his southern relatives (family friends of ours) for the summer. He and I became buddies and hung out together. He would use "you guys" for both men and women (even older women). He almost got his butt whipped a time or two; people took it that he was trying to be a smart-ass. I think nowadays everyone takes "you guys" as not being gender specific.

Haggis
02-15-2010, 09:32 PM
No, that definitely makes some sort of sense. Even given that, though, Stephen King still basically got the usage wrong. All his editors must be Yankees.

Ayuh. :)

mscelina
02-15-2010, 09:32 PM
My favorite thing in the world is hearing a Yankee say 'y'all' accidentally for the first time after moving down here. 'Tis a thing of beauty :D

Yep. They're always so diffident about it and then they turn red, like they've been busted calling their mother in law fat.'

"Y'all have Pepsi here?"

*The yankee blushes; the Southerners chuckle*

"Yeah, we-all have Coke too. Yewwanun?"

*the Yankee looks puzzled. The store clerk leans over and says confidentially*

"Yew don eevin haf tew put peenuts innit."