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Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2008, 03:38 PM
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GOP committee chair opens hearing by suggesting Planned Parenthood funding helped kill his parents

GOP committee chair opens hearing by suggesting Planned Parenthood funding helped kill his parents
David Edwards | 29 Sep 2015 at 11:33 ET

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) suggested on Monday that both of his parents might be alive if the government had used Planned Parenthood funding for cancer research.

At a hearing inspired by anti-Planned Parenthood videos, Chaffetz opened by choking up as he explained that both of his parents had died from cancer.

“Cancer in this country kills about 1,500 people a day — a day,” the chairman noted. “And yet, our federal government only spends $5 billion to fight it. If they were shooting 1,500 people a day, if there were rockets coming in, we would be fighting this with everything we’ve got.”

“We don’t spend enough on cancer,” he continued. “And the reason I’m passionate about the hearing today is we’ve got a lot of health care providers who in their hearts know they are trying to provide good.”



Several times, it has been pointed out in the hearing that the federal monies that Planned Parenthood receives is in reimbursement for health care services that have been provided and that abortion is not paid for by federal monies except in the cases that are allowed by federal law.

However, there is some evidence that "y'all" is also used a singular....

Singular y'all: a "devious Yankee rumor"?
December 31, 2009 @ 12:10 am

From reader EG:

I am writing you because I encountered the perplexing singular y'all while watching trailers for Disney's newest film, The Princess and the Frog. Now, not being a Southerner I can't attest to my own usage of "y'all," but my linguistic intuition is in accord with your Language Log posting "Out of the y'all zone" (9/18/2005), namely that y'all is generally not used to address singular individuals, but plural and occasionally implied plurals. […] In the cited trailer, Tiana uses singular y'all three times. Addressing the frog with evident dismay, she says "So what now? I reckon y'all want a kiss." at 0:32. And then again, at 2:14, when the frog is dismayed that she will not kiss him after her apparent offer, she retorts "I didn't expect y'all to answer!" In the intervening time, she does refer to him (using apparently less careless or emotionally influenced wording) as standard second person singular "you." Finally, "Y'all don't look that much different… but how'd you get way up there?" 3:13. This last example is perhaps the most perplexing of all, as it contains both forms.

Both the Wikipedia article for the movie and the IMDb page give screenwriting credit to Ron Clements (born in Sioux City, Iowa), John Musker (from Chicago, Illinois), and Rob Edwards (origins unclear). The character of Tiana is acted by Anika Noni Rose, who "was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut to Claudia and John Rose, Jr., a corporate counsel for the city of Hartford". Thus it's not clear whether anyone associated with writing or acting that scene has native intuitions about the likely distribution of y'all in the speech of a young African-American woman from New Orleans.

So it's a reasonable guess that the sprinkling of y'alls in Tiana's speech is a bit of southern spice added by northern chefs. However, it's worth quoting Jan Tillery and Guy Bailey, "Yall in Oklahoma", American Speech 73(3) 1998;

In spite of the large body of writing on yall, we know very little about the form. For example, we know almost nothing about its social and spatial distribution (i.e., about precisely who uses the form and exactly where it is used) and very little about its origins or even its precise meaning. This paradox is largely a consequence of the peculiar research strategy that underlies a great deal of the literature on yall. Rather than basing their conclusions on surveys of usage or ethnographic studies or even attestations in literary dialect, most of those who have written on yall rely on what is best termed the personal testimony of true believers. Especially in response to skeptics who cite apparent singular uses of you-all or yall that they may have overheard by chance, true believers simply give their personal testimony that these forms never occur as singulars in the South. They often do so with zeal, as in Axley's assertion that, in a lifetime of observation, he had "never heard any person of any degree of education or station in life use the expression you all as a singular" (1927, 343). Even Atwood (1962), in an otherwise excellent dialect survey, relies on the strategy of personal testimony. Although he surveyed the use of yall as a plural in Texas and Oklahoma, Atwood did not investigate its possible occurrence as a singular; he merely asserted that the form could not be used as a singular, adding that "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" (1962, 69). In fact, only one study (Richardson 1984) provides anything like systematic evidence on the possible use of yall as a singular (she argues that the form is used only as a plural and that apparent singular occurrences usually reflect Southerners' exaggeration of their dialect for social effect); few studies provide any data at all on the social and spatial distribution of the form, either singular or plural. A century of fervent scholarship on you-all and yall, then, has produced mostly fervor.



Only available through registration etc.:

American Speech Fall 2001 76(3): 335-336; doi:10.1215/00031283-76-3-335


Y'all is an interesting construction. I also like it, but mainly because of its symmetric extension all y'all which could then be used as a plural form if y'all were taken principally to be singular.

What do you think of all y'all as a plural form of y'all?
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