On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 8:58 AM, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Like Roger, my only experience with "youse" (which is the standard
> spelling of /juz/, to the extent that there is such a thing) is
> fiction.  Here in Georgia I hear plenty of "y'all" (used not only for
> 2pl but also occasionally for 2sg, so the cycle continues...), but
> none of the various other options.

Really 2sg?

I'm willing to believe it, and I figure conlangers would know better
than most people, but usually when I hear that claim it's from someone
who does not themself say "y'all" and is probably misunderstanding it.
They usually claim it has a corresponding plural form "all y'all,"
which is patent nonsense - "all y'all" is a way of explicitly
referring to the entire group being addressed as opposed to just some
of it, with both meanings being plural; it's no different from "we
all" vs. "we" - and tends to make me presume all their statements
about southern dialect are equally inaccurate.

Georgia could easily be different, but around here "y'all" is always
plural - but you might say it to a single person, when they are the
convenient representative of a larger group. For instance, you can ask
your waiter, "What specials do y'all have tonight?" even though
there's only one of him - but the referent of "y'all" isn't the
waiter, it's the restaurant staff as a whole.

I would be surprised, but not incredulous, if a linguistically-savvy
native speaker of a "y'all"ful dialect of English told me they really
do use it as a singular form.