Hey y’all! We all know that’s the proper way to address more than one person in Texas. In fact, it’s the only way to address more than one person in Texas, or at least it should be. Maybe that would be a better use of our Austin politicians’ time than trying to force the Aggies and the Longhorns to play each other in football again.
Simply put, “y’all” is the best way in the English language to address more than one person, and Talk Like a Texan spoke with a neutral observer, Dr. Lars Hinrichs of the University of Texas. A native of Germany, Hinrichs tells us why it’s superior to “you guys” and “youse” and other such confabulations, and also shoots down all those lies from Northerners about how we Texans sometimes will use “y’all” when referring to one person. WE. JUST. DON’T. Hinrichs has written a paper on it and everything. We just don’t do that.
Northern linguists always seem intent on catching Texans and Southerners in “gotcha” moments where they find some rare instance where “y’all” is used in the singular, but it is always a miscommunication: the Northerner does not understand that more than one person is implied, if not directly addressed.
And this podcast should be the final word on the subject—a native Texan and a German scholar shooting down that persistent, mosquito-like rumor that we use “y’all” to address a single person. As E. Bagby Atwood, author of The Regional Vocabulary of Texas, put it in 1962, “if anything is likely to lead to another Civil War, it is the Northerner’s accusation that Southerners use you all to refer to only one person.”
In this podcast, Hinrichs and I do our level best to quell that potential strife.