What? There's a specific word that relates to one of my biggest pet peeves, and I just now learned it?
I can't stand it when I see y'all spelled ya'll. In my opinion, y'all is the combination of the phrase, typically Northern, "you all." When you take away the "ou" the apostrophe replaces it.
I'm constantly seeing references that use ya'll, and I just don't think it's grammatically correct...I think people just like the way it looks, for some reason, and don't think about the placement of the apostrophe as being a technical issue.
Just to tie this in to a book blog...Paula Deen's autobiography, edited and produced in the North, used ya'll throughout (I could barely make it through it). However, her magazine, edited and produced in the South, consistently uses y'all.
However, I recently got into a debate with a friend of my parents about this. He maintained:
The word ya'll isn't a contraction of the words "you all" as many people think. It is a word of other distinct origin, indigenous to the rural South: ye aw. This evolved in a modern-day variation of y'all, where some put the apostrophe after the "a" (ya'll). So, ya'll could be a contraction for ya all.
Also, I was raised also using ya'll as a contraction of the words "ya will" in which case the apostrophe would replace the "wi"...thus, ya'll.
I'm not at all convinced by his argument, but I'm opening this up for debate. Thoughts?