According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction.

I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). Y’all’dn’t’ve any advice or audio samples would you?

  • 7
    I've never heard "y’all’dn’t’ve" bundled up in a single word. To my mind, the most collapsed form of the wording that a person might actually say is "y’all wouldn’t’ve."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:00
  • 50
    I call shenanigans. This is horse twaddle. People can put anything in wikipedia, but it don't make it true. That is not a legitimate contraction. No sane Southener would contract the 'would' in that context. The smallest it'd get'd be "y'all wudnv".
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:01
  • 28
    I've heard y'all'd've many times but never y’all’dn’t’ve.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:22
  • 4
    @Nᴮᶻ: more or less, depending on twangitude. yallduv, yeallduv.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 21:32
  • 7
    @kbelder y'all is a pronoun that for etymological reasons has an apostrophe. You're not contacting all + would, you're contacting y'all + would. And that's super common in speech: "y'all'd do it too if y'all had the chance" Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:59

9 Answers 9


I'd say this contraction of "you all would not have" as three syllables: [ˈjɔːɫ.ᵈn̩.tɘ̆v].

  1. [ˈjɔːɫ] is y'all, a contraction of you all that serves as the plural of you in Dixie-influenced dialects of American English. The l with a tilde represents a "dark" l, which I realize with pharyngealization (secondary constriction in the throat) and some other speakers may realize with velarization.
  2. [ᵈn̩] denotes a pre-stopped nasal, as in the Russian names Dnieper and Dniester. The tick mark below the n denotes a syllabic consonant. It is the same as the last syllable of redden.
  3. [tɘ̆v] has a slightly raised schwa in the middle, roughly like the last syllable of infinitive except not quite as fronted. The cup-shaped breve mark over the vowel marks it as extra-short.
  • 2
    This is almost how I (native Alabamian) would pronounce it in slow(ish) speech but I generally voice the t in t've. In fast, it'd be the same, but the final schwa vowel would be longer and the syllable would be open. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:48
  • ...not sure about [ᵈn̩] . I think this is further back - lateral release, maybe even a light ɤ leading into it.
    – J...
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 10:35
  • 4
    Upvote for IPA, an actual pronunciation guide.
    – user1359
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 14:44

As an American Southerner, I had a good laugh when I read this.

Depending on where you're from, this could either be incredibly easy or nigh impossible to pronounce.

Look at the words 'didn't' and 'hadn't,' first of all. In a Southern U.S. dialect especially, the 'd' in the middle of these words is soft, unlike the initial hard consonant of 'don't' or 'drive,' much like 'fiddle' (meaning violin in a bluegrass context) in the same dialect.

Y'all is actually spoken more like 'yaw' as in yawn.

The 've is essentially 'of,' pronounced the same as the first syllable in oven. In context, it would very likely be pronounced as a simple 'uh,' similar to 'woulda, coulda, shoulda.'

So in the end, you get something like 'yawna' or 'yawdna.' This isn't exactly correct, but it's quite close.

Again, if you are a Northerner, Midwesterner, Canadian, Australian, or British, this may still not adequately explain how to pronounce this contraction.

I would suggest listening to someone like Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy speak for awhile. Then, you should have an easier time imagining how this is pronounced.

  • 16
    So something like yawntove...?
    – Adám
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:57
  • 34
    Yep, something almost exactly like that. Used in a sentence: "If y'all'dn't've shut them barn doors, we could've run them pigs right yonder in!!"
    – Adam Hayes
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 18:59
  • 12
    @AdamHayes: The Deep South accent in my head reads that as “If yawna shut them bawn dowas, we coulda run them pigs raht yawnder iyun.” Accurate?
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:19
  • 5
    Seems to me (as an East Alabama native) that this is the new negative past subjunctive clitic *'dna'; but in any context where this might appear the modal has to be stressed, so the vowel has to be represented: "If y'aladna dropped all em pices we woulda whupteir ice." Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:41
  • 11
    Y'all isn't just Southern — it's part of African American Vernacular English in the North as well, and at least where I grew up, the L is distinctly pronounced.
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 23:08

I think most native English speakers would have similar troubles. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Also, different people will say this different ways: somebody from Virginia (like me) will say it differently from somebody from Mississippi, who will say it differently from somebody from Texas.

But if you're curious, I'd start with the words that it's contracting:

  • "You all would not have" shortens to "Y'all wouldn't have"
  • "Y'all wouldn't have" shortens to "Y'all wouldn't've" - practice saying that out loud a few times.
  • "Y'all wouldn't've" finally gets shortened to "y’all’dn’t’ve" - it's like what you were just practicing, just without the "woul" part.

Another way to look at it:

  • Start with "would not have" and shorten that to "wouldn't've"
  • Take out the W and shorten it to sound like "ooldn't've"
  • Change the "ool" sound into an "all" sound: "all'dn't've"
  • Add a "y" sound at the beginning: "y'all'dn't've"

In other words, you're having trouble with the L-D-N-T-V part because you need the Y-A part, or at least the A part, before the L sound to really blend the sounds together.

Phonetically, I'd pronounce it yalldintuv. But realistically, I don't know anybody who would say this in real life.


In the South the phrase "Y'all would not have . . . " would most commonly be pronounced "Yaw woot nuh" with woot rhyming with foot. "Y'all would not have done that" = "Yaw woot nuh dun nat."


If the uncontracted expression starts as "you all would not have ..." the natural progression would be

  • "y'all woudn't have" /jal wødnt hæv/ (with syllabic 'n'). This is exceedingly formal.
  • "y'all woudn't of" /jal wødntuv/. The 'd' is more like a alveolar flap (like the American 't' in 'writer')
  • "y'all woudn't've" /jal wødnəv/.
  • "y'all woudna" /jal wødnə/. This is the most...relaxed/informal, and probably the pronunciation you should be looking for.

In the end, the 'y'all' isn't smushed into the rest. It's a separately enunciated word.

As to Wikipedia, the entries are not necessarily accurate representations of reality. Wikipedia, as good as it can be, at any one time can have difficulties which may or may not be corrected for.

  • Alabamian here. I can imagine (after listening to myself try a few times) rural neighbors vocalizing the sentiment behind the contraction in question as /jaødnə/ or /jaøtnə/, definitely smushing the y’all into the rest with the /l/ and /w/ sounds disappearing into a shallow gulp.
    – Greg Bacon
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 21:57
  • @Greg I'm from Virginia. I can see that, but I also naturally pronounce "I don't know" as "ah unhuh" but with less articulation than is implied by using letters to represent the sounds.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:13
  • You can very easily get it down to /jaldnə/ in actual speech. I'm not sure why you think the y'all needs to be separately enunciated, it may or may not depending on the actual sentence and its context. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:54

I didn't find this expression in any other dictionary, but the actual phrase that was contracted would go through these steps:

You all did not have

Y'all did not have

Y'all didn't have

Y'all didn't've

It would sound like, "Yawl dintuv," which is quite a bit shorter than "You all did not have." I did not keep the /d/ in didn't've because if the person is contracting this much already, they probably would say, "dint've." If you did want to keep the /d/ it would be pronounced, "didn'tuv."

I hope this helps y'all!

  • 9
    The start of the contraction is "you all would not have", not "you all did not have". Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:27

IMO, this isn't Southern. This is country!

I think the phonetic spelling would be y'all-ood'nd've, where the "dn’t" is almost swallowed. Since it's a contraction of "wouldn't", you'd still sort of pronounce the "ould", which sounds like "wood" without the "w". Then you just add a sort of extra "not" contraction, "n't" which sounds like the end of "and" but with no "a". So "nd". Then just add the "ve", from the end of "I've".

There's no hard T sound. I'm sure you know that in American English, the T often sounds like a D, so you shouldn't be trying to pronounce a hard T sound.

  • Your assertion about d-for-t pronunciation is generally accurate for southeast Texas, where I grew up; but I strongly suspect that, in the part of the South that John Wayland Bales (above) is from, the pronunciation is otherwise. There are many subregional variations in speech in the South (to say nothing of "U.S. rural" as a speech region), and it's a good idea to avoid any sweeping attribution of a particular pronunciation to the whole region.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 18:32
  • It's pretty common for Ts to be pronounced like D's in all parts of the United States (as in "auto"). However, it's not true for all Ts in speech (as in "faculty" or "discounted"). Sometimes it's not pronounced at all ("network"). Whether you're from Maine or Texas is irrelevant. In the case of y’all’dn’t’ve, the T would sound like a D. In a similar phrase, "I wouldn't've" the T sounds like a D. Adding y'all to the front wouldn't change that.
    – user70848
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 20:28
  • This is exactly the right answer (based on my experience of living in Georgia for my entire life).
    – Joe DeRose
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 3:02

This sounds to me like a southern-ebonics twist on the English language, and would be pronounced as "y'all done eve", which would imply You all don't even.


Is it pronounced


or `


Either way it's a pretty incredible descent from

'you all did not have'

which by the way is terrible grammar, better to just say

'you did not'

which could be contracted to


  • It is you all would not have not all did not.
    – Adám
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:32
  • 1
    If I heard someone say "yawdintuv," I would think (at least initially) that they were using a contracted form of "you ought not have."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 18:24
  • The original contraction was y’all’dn’t’ve, surely you all would not have would be y’all’wn’t’ve
    – Pixelomo
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 9:23
  • I fail to see what "terrible grammar" is "you all did not have". That is a perfectly grammatical construction as is in all standard dialects of English that I know (notice that "we all" and "they all" are also just fine). "He would not have" is contracted as "he'dnt've" (and "he would have" is "he'd've), so I'm not sure you feel the contracted form of "would" would be just "w" Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 7:02
  • I guess it's acceptable American English grammar but it's certainly not acceptable English grammar ;)
    – Pixelomo
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 9:15

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