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.