Speaking Southern


Y’all, the “y’all” is slipping out. I don’t know what is happening to me.

Maybe it was inevitable – I’m surrounded by “y’all”-ers everywhere I go. But still, it’s a big pet peeve of mine when people go off to some foreign land for a short amount of time and return with an accent. Because I’m sorry, but three weeks in Ireland does not earn you a brogue. All of y’all just need to stop being ridiculous.

See. It just sounds alien coming from my lips. I am the first one to admit that this is the most unnatural phenomenon, and if I had any way to stop it, I would – because it makes me feel all conspicuous. Like when I wear hats. I’m just not sure that it suits me in an effortlessly hip kind of way.

Most of the time, “y’all” is used simply as a contraction of the words “you” and “all.” Examples: “Are y’all coming over?” “Can I ride with y’all?” “Y’all should read this.”

Y’all really should.

However, I haven’t found myself “y’all”-ing this way. Instead, the term has weaseled its way into my vocabulary as a replacement for “seriously, dudes.”

“I went to bed with wet hair last night, and y’all, it is mangy today.”
“I mean, I’ve been around – and y’all, Jim Halpert is the only man for me.”
“I shouldn’t have eaten heavily salted edamame and popcorn for dinner because I knew that this morning it would result in having a tongue the size of Arkansas – but y’all, that’s all that I wanted to eat.”

A word of emphasis, used for only the most truthful of statements.


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  1. erin castioni on May 16, 2008 at 9:50 AM

    the y’alls just fall out of my mouth in texas too. I’m hoping some time in the good ‘ol midwest will ruin my affinity for lazy mouth movement (that’s what she…). I think i’m going to head down to KC for some shopping before Nashville – suggestions?? Because, ya’ll, the malls in omaha are just pitiful.

    (and yes, i removed my first post due to some embarassingly mis-spelled atrocities)

  2. Lyla on May 16, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    I don’t know if you ever met Frau Yurich (the German teacher at the time I was at MHS) and it was great fun trying to teach her how to say y’all properly. LOL “No… not youall. Y’all.”

    If it makes you feel any better, though, I haven’t lived in Colorado for 6 years or so and I sometimes catch my country showing. You know, “I just feeled the cat’s bowl with food and now she’s still trying to rip the bag open. I could just keel her.”

  3. Julianne on May 16, 2008 at 2:11 PM

    I understand. When I went to school in Kentucky, I started saying y’all.

    Now that I’m in Canada, the “eh” has taken over. It fascinated me when I first moved here–it can be used to communicate so much. And at first I thought that maybe Canadians needed constant affirmation, by asking people to agree with everything they said, but I’m not so sure that’s the case.
    And there’s even a variation–Jon often will use “hey” instead of “eh.”

    I say embrace the nuances of culture you find yourself in! (Just don’t start “y’ant to” for “if you want to”–that’s just too much, eh?)

  4. Case and Los on May 16, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    Ha ha, funny stuff. Since I live up near Canada, eh, I say eh a lot, eh? I’ve heard it’s less assertive/aggressive than Americans to pose statements as questions, which is why the Canucks do it. But what do I know, eh?

    And I might could say ya’ll all the time. Since I’ve studied six languages, and most of the bible is written in second person plural, I have an affinity for it. However, now I’m fretting as to where the proper placement of the apostrophe is?! I thought it was ya’ll, but maybe it’s y’all?! How will we figure this out?

    p.s. it was 80 in Seattle today. Dreamy.

  5. Deborah Barnett on May 16, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    Grew up in So. Cal and the West Coast is ingrained. But 11 years in Nashville is bound to rub off. So now I just sound like a Valley Girl with a drawl.

    Oh, and here’s my 2 favorite:

    “Spackle,” the mother whispered, as she cradled her sleeping newborn. “We shall call you Spackle.”

    Her hair smelled of cinnamon and lies.

    That’s it… I’m writing a new creative sentence every day. Hmmm… maybe it should be on my Facebook status…

  6. Allie, Dearest on May 17, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    I always wish that I could pick up the sweet southern sound of “y’all” and sound like a ruul lady, but the NW just has me pinned to articulate, accent-free language.

    Sad, y’all.

  7. Jeremy Parsons on May 17, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Note: marrying the daughter of a Texan also makes you say “Y’all”. . . .and I’m “fixin” to________.

    So, y’all, I’m fixin to leave my sister a comment.

  8. Marijke on May 20, 2008 at 12:57 AM

    He done LEFT you a message! Talkin’ ’bout fixin’ to…

  9. […] Y’all. […]

  10. hootenannie » Blog Archive » This is my brain on August 14, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    […] Y’all, I am exhausted.  And when I am exhausted, I get super pessimistic and woebegone.  Another car honks at me, and I burst into tears.  I find myself presented with chocolate peanut butter brownies, and immediately eat 4.  And then I eat half a frozen pizza.  And tortilla chips.  And maybe some cream cheese on a spoon.  My mind wanders when it should be focused, and I am serious when I should be playful. When I feel overwhelmed, human interaction is the first thing I cut out.  I criticize my body, my abilities, my decisions. […]

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