Saturday, January 03, 2009

Yall Listen Up, the Yall Brigade's on the March!

As those close to me have probably realized by now, I've been studying phonology, linguistics, and the history of the English language like a mad-man lately.

I feel like I'm getting close to really understanding the language. I now know that periods and commas were first written for people who couldn't read, and why Bono didn't get in trouble for saying "fucking brilliant" on national television (hint: it's an adverb in that phrase), and that if someone asked me how to pronounce the word "cute," I could explain it in nerdiest way: produce an unvoiced velar stop followed by a voiced palatal glide modified by a high, back vowel formed dipthong, and end with an unvoiced alveolar stop).

But that's child's play compared to the great battle that I've been apprised of. As everyone knows, English doesn't have a marked plural second-person form. Okay, well maybe not everyone knows it by name. But when I wrote "yall" in the title, I exposed the apparent flaw.

There's no word for "you" (plural). So what's a nation to do? Well in the East they say "you guys," in the South it's "yall," the Deep Southerners say "yous," and in Pittsburgh it's "yuns."

Now there's no way I'm going to live in a country that says "yous" or "yuns." So they're both out the door. "You guys" and "you all" don't fill the need for one word; which leaves us with "yall." So sleak and slender, it encompasses everything we need the second-person plural form to do.

So I'm asking everyone to sign up for the Yall Brigade (cue the patriotic music). We are a force of savvy speakers aiming to establish yall as the crown contraction for plural forms. Your mission is simple, use "yall" every chance you get. Spread the wisdom and joy of this glorious key to furthering literary clarity. Our cause is simple, yet vitally important. And one day, when the annals of our history are being written, we can stand triumphantly and declare that when we saw a need, we didn't hesitate, we filled the gap and changed the you form forever! Do it for me. Do it for yourself. Do it for posterity, yall!

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