Even if you’re not from the South, you’ve heard the term “y’all” before and know what it means.

Cranks My Tractor

Even if you’re not from the South, you’ve heard the term “y’all” before and know what it means.  Growing up in the South, I heard it many times a day.  I still use it all day long and I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent person and wouldn’t try to offend anyone on purpose.

Recently, I found out about a young girl who works in the restaurant/hotel business here where I live who was “written up” by her supervisor for using the term “ya’ll,” because in the supervisor’s words, it is “slang.”  Hmm…  Slang?  Webster’s defines slang as “words that are not considered part of the standard vocabulary of a language and that are used very informally in speech especially by a particular group of people.”

Again, I don’t think that “y’all” is slang.  If you want to spend an hour or so discussing the way to spell it, that would be fine, but it’s not slang.  There are those who say that you spell it “y’all” because it’s a contraction of “you” and “all” which is correct.  Then there are those who spell it “ya’ll,” because it is contraction of “ya” and “all” and that is the way William Faulkner spelled it and folks over 200 years ago spelled it.

Over 200 years ago?

Sure, there are folks who have found it in writing back in the 1700’s and they probably said it before then also.  There are those who believe and there is evidence to the fact that y’all is an Americanized version of the Scottish phrase “ye aw,” which was brought to America by Scotch-Irish immigrants in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Another source noted that the original spelling was ya’ll because the “ya” was originally the more common spoken (slang) form of “you.”  Oh no…. they used the term “slang.”

This same source noted that eventually “you” overtook “ya” in spoken English in the south causing dispute on the spelling of “ya’ll” and “y’all.” When the term was added to dictionaries and spell-checkers, the assumed spelling was “y’all” because “you+all” was the interpretation of people outside of the south, where dictionaries are published.

Does that not make you want to throw a hissy fit with a tail on it?  “…outside the south, where dictionaries are published.”  Good grief, as far as some people are concerned, Southerners still don’t wear shoes and still use corn cobs in the outhouse.  On a sidebar, I was sent back to the grocery store to exchange my bargain toilet paper for the “good stuff.”  A Southern woman told me that in my house.  And I took it back…

You know, I really don’t care where the word “y’all” came from and who the first to say it was.

I’ve spelled it both ways, because I do think a lot of William Faulkner and his writings.  Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning novelist who wrote good and bad things about the South, but at least he was from the South.

It seems some folks, particularly those outside of the South, will want to always find bad things in the South.  They never hesitate to take the South’s help when they need it for fighting wars, playing their sports or even teaching them how to grow food, cook food and survive, but they still want to point out things like the dictionary being published above the Mason-Dixon.  As far as I can tell, there is no Mason-Dixon Line anymore.

Honestly, I thought where I live was kind of in the South, but so many folks have migrated here from the north, that it really isn’t “The South” anymore.  However, I will note that the “Good South” will always survive.

You can’t get rid of it any easier than you can make folks stop using the word “y’all.”  It’s not going to happen.

The girl who was written up for saying “y’all?”  Her supervisor’s supervisor promptly tore up the reprimand and told her not to worry about it.  I’m willing to bet the supervisor, said “Y’all take care” when exiting…

Y’all do that… (Take care).

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