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Entry from December 30, 2006
Y’all

"Y’all” (for “you all") is used throughout the South. “Howdy, y’all” quickly identifies someone from Texas. “Y’all come back” is heard at many businesses and homes.

Thomas Nelson Page used “y’all” for the plantation language in his Virginia stories, dating from 1887. George William Bagby, also born in Virginia, used “y’all” in his 1862 and 1874 novels.

Alfred W. Arrington, who was born in North Carolina (but who was a Texas judge in the 1850s), used “y’all” several times in his novel The Rangers and Regulators of the Tanaha, or Life Among the Lawless: A Tale of the Republic of Texas (1857). This may be the first written Texas “y’all.”


(Oxford English Dictionary)
you-all, pers. pron.
U.S. dial.
Also you all
Used in place of YOU pers. pron.
Used, with no clear pattern, both as sing. and as pl.
1824 ‘A. SINGLETON’ Lett. South & West 82 Children learn from the slaves some odd phrases;..as..will you all do this? for, will one of you do this?
(...)
y’all
U.S. dial.
Also yall
Abbrev. YOU-ALL pers. pron.
1909 Dialect Notes III. 390 Where are yall goin’? 1928 Amer. Speech IV. 103, I heard a young lady, in greeting a group of her friends, say, ‘How’re y’all this morning?’
(...)
yawl
repr. (Southern) U.S. pronunc. of Y’ALL pers. pron.
1919 Dialect Notes V. 40 Yawl,..you-all.

Wikipedia: Y’all
Y’all, sometimes spelled ‘Ya’ll’ or ‘Yawl’, is a fused grammaticalization of you all. It is both a singular and a plural second-person pronoun. Most speakers who use y’all use it as a plural form of you

Wikipedia: Thomas Nelson Page
Thomas Nelson Page (April 23, 1853 – 1 November 1922) was an American writer.

Born in Beaverdam, Hanover County, Virginia, Page popularized the plantation tradition genre of Southern writing.

Documenting the American South
IN OLE VIRGINIA OR MARSE CHAN AND OTHER STORIES
BY
THOMAS NELSON PAGE
NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
1895
COPYRIGHT, 1887 BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
Pg.vi:
NOTE.
THE dialect of the negroes of Eastern Virginia differs totally from that of the Southern negroes, and in some material points from that of those located farther west.

The elision is so constant that it is impossible to produce the exact sound, and in some cases it has been found necessary to subordinate the phonetic arrangement to intelligibility.

The following rules may, however, aid the reader:

The final consonant is rarely sounded. Adverbs, prepositions, and short words are frequently slighted, as is the possessive. The letter r is not usually rolled except when used as a substitute for th, but is pronounced ah.

For instance, the following is a fair representation of the peculiarities cited:

The sentence, “It was curious, he said, he wanted to go into the other army,” would sound: “ ‘Twuz cu-yus, he say, he wan’(t) (to) go in(to) ‘turr ah-my.”
(...)
UNC’ EDINBURG’S DROWNDIN’.” A PLANTATION ECHO . . . 39
Pg. 59:
“You white folks, marster, don’ b’lieve nuttin like dat; y’ all got too much sense, ‘cause y’ all kin read; but niggers dee ain’ know no better, an’ I sutney wuz skeered, ‘cause Aunt Haly say my coffin done seasoned, de planks up de chimley. 
(...)
OLE ‘STRACTED . . . 140
Pg. 160:
All y’all jes stand back.

Handbook of Texas Online
ARRINGTON, ALFRED W. (1810-1867). Alfred W. Arrington, author and judge, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, on September 17, 1810. In 1819 he moved to Arkansas, where he was a preacher from 1828 to 1834. He was admitted to the bar in Missouri in 1835, when he returned to Arkansas and was elected to the state legislature; he served until 1845 and moved to Texas. He visited Boston and New York in 1847 and there published Desperadoes of the South and Southwest (1849) under the pen name Charles Summerfield. He also contributed “Sketches of the South and Southwest” to various newspapers. After returning to Texas, Arrington was elected judge of the Twelfth (Rio Grande) Judicial District in 1850. He retired in 1856 because of ill health, returned to New York, and, again under a pen name, published The Rangers and Regulators of the Tanaha, or Life Among the Lawless: A Tale of the Republic of Texas (1857).

Wright American Fiction
Arrington, Alfred W. (1810-1867): The Rangers and Regulators of the Tanaha, or, Life among the Lawless (1856) 2 matches in 2 of 421 pages
CHAPTER XVI.
of all that is cowardly and foolish?” / “Why, heern as how the regerlators wur guine to cotch y’ all and swing y’ up to dry, us thought we’d better heave to, and gin y’ a lift; but when we fotch
CHAPTER XXV.
that,” affirmed Dave Tuttle with a sly wink. / He then made a small opening, and inquired, “ar y’all alive and kickin’ in thar?” / “Yes,” replied the half-stifled voice of Mose Miller; “but

Virtual American Biographies
BAGBY, George William, author, born in Buckingham County, Virginia, 13 August 1828; died in Richmond, Virginia, 29 November 1883. He was educated at Edgehill school, Princeton, New Jersey, and at Delaware College, Newark, Del., leaving the latter at the end of his sophomore year. Subsequently he studied medicine and was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1853 tie became editor of the Lynehburg (Virginia) daily “Express,” and was for some time the Washington correspondent of the New Orleans “Crescent,” Charleston “Mercury,” and Richmond “Dispatch.” From 1859 he was, until its suspension near the end of the war, editor of the “Southern Literary Messenger,” and at the same time associate editor of the Richmond “Whig,” and a frequent contributor to the “Southern Illustrated News.” From 1 January 1870, to 1 July 1878, he was state librarian of Virginia. He lectured frequently, and met with success as a humorist in many parts of Virginia and Maryland. He was the author of many humorous articles published under the pen name of “Mozis Addums.” His sketches were collected and published by Mrs. Bagby, as “The Writings of Dr. Bagby” (3 vols. Richmond, 1884-’6). 

Wright American Fiction 1851-1875
Bagby, George William (1828-1883): The Letters of Mozis Addums to Billy Ivvins (1862) 1 match in 1 of 88 pages
THIRD LETTER.
a meet hous, which you shood be keerful it don’t git het at the bone, and prizin uv tobarker, which y’all’s Winstun nose how to do it, givs you a parshil idee, but only parshil. Now in the fust plais,

Wright American Fiction 1851-1875
Bagby, George William (1828-1883): What I Did With My Fifty Millions (1874) 3 matches in 1 of 131 pages
FOURTEENTH INSTALLMENT.
ten thousand wrinkles in his face. / “Have you got any cold sperrits?” they cried. / “Did y’all know Woody Latham?” said I. / And they answered and said they did. “We desire some pizen,
said I. / And they answered and said they did. “We desire some pizen,” they added. / “Did y’all know Judge Semple?” said I. / They answered yes, and most of them lied. / “And did y
y’all know Judge Semple?” said I. / They answered yes, and most of them lied. / “And did y’all know Jim McDonald and Bob Ridgway and Chas. Irving and Marcellus Anderson and Philander McCork

Wright American Fiction 1851-1876
Newell, R. H. (1836-1901): The Cloven Foot (1870) 1 match in 1 of 286 pages
CHAPTER XXVII.
—I’ve listened to y’r impudence with patience, and on any other ‘casion would be happy to see y’all safe home. At present, however, Mr. Bentham and I desire to be left alone, if ‘ts all th’ same

October 1893, Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, “The Pass’n’s Grip” by Roswell Page, pg. 485:
“An’ mos’ o’ y’all reklecks ‘bout Bill White, an’ how the pass’n went an’ tole him to hes’ go an’ hev’ Lizer Turpin:...
(...)(Pg. 486—ed.)
“Any o’ yo’ all gwine my way?”

10 June 1894, New York Times, pg. 27:
Mr. Page’s Negro Tales.
PASTIME STORIES. By Thomas Nelson Page.
New-York: Harper & Brothers.
(...)
Y’all know how ‘tis.

August 1894, Current Literature, “Uncle Ben’s Defense: Jinny Eases Her Mind” by Thomas Nelson Page, pg. 169:
Y’all know how ‘tis yo’self.

24 June 1951, Los Angeles Times, “Texas Talk” in “Wally’s Wagon” by Wally Boren, pg. H21:
“Y’all hurry back,” the fry cook says as I reach for the doorknob.

I whirl an’ look him in the eye. “Son,” I say, “you never got that chili recipe nor that ‘Y’all hurry back’ from no sea captain. That’s pure Texas!”

“‘Tain’t nuther,” he said. “I never saw Texas. But I was a cook in the Navy. An’ for a while I had to please an Admiral, name of Nimitz. He was from Texas. An’ ‘stead of codfish with his eggs, you know what the Admiral wanted on ‘em for breakfast?”

“Chili!” I answer.

“WELL,” said the Admiral’s ex-cook, “when the Admiral would have visitors he would always say as they left, ‘Ya’ll hurry back.’”

4 April 1962, Washington Post, pg. A6:
Gift of Homes Called
Just a “Howdy, Y’All”
By Don Pickels
HOUSTON, April 3—The offer of free furnished homes in Houston to the seven astronauts is nothing more than a “howdy, y’all” Texas welcome, in the view of the folks who made it.

25 November 1962, Chicago Daily Tribune, “Southern Cooking’s Not for Her,” pg. A2:
So we left, and the waitress did not get mad, but said, “Y’all come back now,’” just like every other place we were in.

20 April 1964, Ada (OK) Evening News, “Things Are Amazing in the Texas Land of LBJ,” pg. 10, col. 3:
“Y’all come back,” said Jordan.

22 July 1984, New York Times, “How to Talk ‘Texian’” by Robert Reinhold, pg. SM9:
South Midland, the twangy, lilting speech of northeast Texas brought by settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas, as in “Y’all come back.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, December 30, 2006 • Permalink