up alton wayI was up in Alton in early May, and forgot to write something important about my experience. It was rainy, and we got lost; it was green, and warm, and the waters rose. But here was my experience: I heard "youse" coming from three different people, some more than once. It appeared to be a simple plural, as "y'all" is used: "Would youse like to sit over here?" I am not sure exactly of the contexts I heard it in; I would love to go back, but it has now been almost three weeks since it happened, and I simply don't remember that clearly.
What surprised me was that I had thought of this as an entirely local (NY, NJ, Bronx, Philly maybe) expression that didn't travel well and certainly got very little currency outside of its limited area. So what was up with this?
I was aware that this area was settled by people from Maine (unlike here, where many of the original settlers are from mountain areas; thus, you are more likely to hear "you'ns") - could this be related? Good question. More research is obviously required.