The English language is a precious entity. The proper use of the language is praised, although the abuse of it has become the norm in American society.
Technology has brought along text-speak, which can be described as lazy English. But is text-speak really abuse, or is it merely one of the many American dialects? Our country is so diverse, and, although we mostly speak the same language, our language is just as colorful as our culture.
Regionalisms, words associated with different regions, are a perfect example of how English needn’t be homogeneous to be correct. One example of this is that people in more northern regions call carbonated drinks “pop.” Some areas call it “tonic.” Of course, that’s all just silly because Texans know that it’s called “soda.”
We may call a friend “dude,” while other regions may call a friend “bro,” no matter the gender. We say “awesome,” just as frequently as people from Boston say “boss” or “wicked,” and we all mean the same thing. If you lived further west, you wouldn’t be horrified to hear that your grandparents were wearing “thongs,” because you would know that they would be wearing “flip-flops.” Regionalisms put unique flavor into the mix of American English. They are something to be proud of; they represent your roots.
Sometimes, regionalisms fill in holes in proper English. For example, without the use of a regionalism, can you think of the plural form of the second-person pronoun? In other words, the proper plural form of “you”?
According to writer Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, 14th century English didn’t have this problem. As a second-person subject, the singular form was “thou” while the plural form was “ye.” As the object of a sentence, the singular form was “thee” while the plural form was “you.”
In the English of today, it’s all “you.” Subject, object, singular, plural: you. That gets confusing. If you’re talking to a group of people and you refer to them as “you,” the pronoun would most likely be followed by, “all,” for clarification. It’s sad that over time, the English language dropped “ye,” which seems to be an important pronoun.
That’s where regionalisms come in.
Southerners say “y’all.” It’s not grammatically incorrect, especially if said in this region. Variants of this word include “yu’uns,” “ye,” “yins” and “you lot.”
Again, silly Yankees, why ignore the most logical thing? “Y’all” is the contraction of “you” and “all.” English loves contractions. Formal English should embrace “y’all” as the newest replacement of our lost pronoun. Anyway, formal documents and speeches can do well with a little bit of Southern charm, y’all.