It's Just a Southern Thing! A Spoof on Why Southerners Say "Y'all"
It seems that everything was flowing along quite nicely with everyone calling each other y’all, when, one day, Beulah Mae’s cousin and half-sister, Prudie, had to call the hounds, but she had more than one, and y’all was singular, as Beulah Mae had used it. Prudie didn’t know what to say. First she tried hollering, “Y’all’uns!” but not one of those hounds so much as lifted an eyelid. Next, she yelled, “Ever’ one ‘a y’all!”, and a few lifted an eyelid, but only to look around to see which one she might be talking to. So Prudie found herself deep in a pickle or a quandary, whichever.
Speculation abounds. Some say Prudie went to her great-great grandmother, Adelaide, who at 37 called her one hound to dinner with a whistle and a shout, “Y’all come runnin’ now, ya hear, we got ‘possums!” But Adelaide, usually full of it, had no advice for people with more than one hound. Thus, flummoxing went on in the backwoods for quite some time, people calling each other “y’all,” but standing tongue-tied when speaking to more than one person.
Well, time went on, as it does. With the kids a little older, Beulah Mae took to sending the seven boys giggin’ frogs and instructed the seven girls on how to fry the legs. She told the girls, “If th’ grease’s to hot w’en y’putcher legs in th’ pan, them legs’ll jump out!” So the girls carefully watched the heat. Then one day she sent the girls a giggin’ and had the boys fry up the legs. ‘Course, the instant she told those boys the legs would jump out of the pan if the grease was too hot, they stoked the fire. That’s when she hollered, “All y’all’s getting’ a whoopin’!” And there it was: the plural of y’all: All y’all.
Word spread up Picken’s Nose over to Generation Gap then around to Holy Holler up yonder. To this day, wherever you go in the South, you will hear southern girls say, “I would love it if y’all would come by the house this evening,” and you can tell right away if the young man she addresses is from the north, because he will be looking around behind himself. But when she says, “I would love it if all y’all would come by the house this evening,” even the boys from the south will be looking around behind themselves. That’s why it’s so important to understand the local idioms in any language.
So there you have it, the story of how y’all and all y’all came to be. And I know it’s true, because Pappy told me. So Happy April Fool’s Day, and Pappy wants me to remind you it’s going to be a bad winter, if you find crickets in the chimney.