In a message dated 10/3/01 4:45:04 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< This does not sound like a person who has any first hand experience

with that pronoun.  It sounds like a person who has made his judgements

based off of the Hollywoodization of Southern life, which is, to say

the least, inaccurate.  Again, I'm sorry that we had this confusion

of intent. >>

    Well, I wouldn't immediately discount what goes on in movies, for
example, since the big Oxford dictionary only works with documented usages,
not just people saying that they say such-and-such all the time, and
often-times the earliest documented usages of words are in movies.  For
example, the first recorded usage of "dude" in its common form, they claim,
is in Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Sean Penn.  That, of course, is
probably not the first time it was ever used, and may even have been a
"Hollywoodization", but, nevertheless, that's how it's used today.  That
"y'all" is or could be used in the singular, first, doesn't surprise me at
all, since that happens so often in other languages (cf. French, Russian,
Hindi, German, etc.), and especially since the context in which I remember
hearing it is a sort of softener, such that the phrase, "I was thinking I
could stay with y'all" was said to a person who lived by himself in an
apartment with no one else (I cannot for the life of me remember what this
comes from!  Though, I swear, I'm not making it up), yet this person did not
want this other person staying with him at all.  I didn't even question this
usage; it seemed a pretty natural extension to me.  I was just grabbing
things out of the air and claiming that they were as common as day and night.