Okay, Maine. Let’s Be Okay With ‘Y’all’.
I don't know if you haven't noticed a certain word that's creeped into our lexicon in more recent years here in the State of Maine.
Maybe it's due to an increase in Southern appeal- their interior decorating is nice, their food is delicious and their music (rap, hip-hop and country) is all American.
Whatever the reason, Maine people have really been adapting to the word "y'all".
Now, let's be honest. We Mainer's did not originate the "y'all" nor did we perpetuate the "y'all".
Is it a new cultural thing that "y'all" has become a new term in our Mainer dialect, now? When did I miss the memo?
Rarely do I hear it when I'm out at the grocery store or stocking up at a big box store. But, when I do hear it, it's the younger crowds (Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z) and tends to be a less formal conversation.
Brass tacks. "y'all" is a Southern term for 'you all'. The New England equivalent would be 'youse' or 'youse guys'.
Doing some research, I came across an article from Al.com, a website dedicated to the State of Alabama. In the article, a former professor of the University of Southern Alabama, Thomas Nunnally, gives us some perspective on why "y'all" is being adopted by other states besides the traditional Southern states. Nunnally says, perhaps 'ya'll' is being used more frequently because we are actually missing an important element in the English language, the second person plural form of the pronoun 'you'.
We've adapted up here in Maine and other Northern states with the adaptation that is usually 'youse guys' or 'you guys' but, in these modern times, it's kind of weird to say you guys when you're addressing a mixed group of genders or another gender all together.
So, I guess we Mainer's have found a term that better suits our intention and expression by going a more neutral route, and a Southern one at that.
No matter your stance on Mainer's using the term "y'all", it might suit you and your lexicon to adapt a little "y'all". Apparently, it's filling a gap in y'alls English that expresses more clearly than 'youse guys' ever could, especially when 'youse guys' aren't... dudes. Y'all includes the ladies and we all know it's better for it.