Monday, April 27, 2009

Hey! You!

Correct me if I'm wrong, as it wouldn't be unprecedented and my familiarity with other languages is limited, but to the best of my knowledge English is the only language without an acceptable plural to indicate the collective 'you'.

We need one.

This need is met regionally, with each dialect developing it's own answer.

I'm partial to 'ya'll'.

Ya'll makes sense to me. You all. All of you. It works, it sounds kind of nice to my ears, it fills that need.

I understand now, though, in some southern sub-dialects that 'ya'll' is used to indicate the singular and 'all ya'll' is used to indicate the plural. Well, that makes a little less sense... It does, however, make me feel a little better about that time I spent in Texas. When people would call just me ya'll, I would go home and whine to my roommate, "I know I'm BIG, but I don't think I'm PLURAL!"

Where I grew up, the generally accepted term is 'youns'. I'm sure at least one of my Western PA friends will debate me on my choice of spelling. Spell check isn't so sure about it, either. I have seen it written out as 'yinz' and 'yunz'. Youns makes the most sense to me, as it is at least an attempt at a contraction. (you ones?)

Youse? You guys? Youse guys? Youns (yinz, yunz) guys? All regionally acceptable terms in the vernacular.

Yesterday, though, I heard a new one. My family went to the movies, and, as the usher tore our tickets he said, "Enjoy your guyses show."

Your guyses.

People.

Really.

We need to come to some sort of agreement on this, because that? Was just out of hand.

Ya'll have a nice day, now.

22 comments:

Bass Is Life said...

And after we come up with the word, we'll have to come up with the spelling. I've always assumed Y'all as opposed to to Ya'll, because the second seems for of a contraction of 'ya will'. Of course, it probably shouldn't even have an apostrophe. So it would be spelled Yall so that that we can have the contraction Yall'll (yall will or you all will).

Of course we could go with Youns, which should better as a contraction (youns'll vs. yall'll), but then we'll have to rearrange the rest of our sentance structure: "Can one o' youns throw me down the stairs my hat?"

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, you had to go there...

And I would have almost certainly said, "Can one o'youns PLEASE throw me down the stairs my hat." I may have developed dialect confusion in my travels through life, but I've never lost my manners.

Jenny Penny said...

Oh, I loved the part about being big but not plural. I'll have to remember that one. I agree we need to fix this problem with the English language, and I agree y'all (gotta go with your guy on the apostrophe) is the most obvious choice. We also don't have a good neutered pronoun. What's wrong with US!? If you will push through the y'all (or yall), I'll work on getting grammarians to warm to the idea of finally just letting "they" stand for "he or she." I can't stomach it when "one" is used instead. (Who talks like that anyway?)

Bass Is Life said...

I use 'they' all the time instead of he or she (or one) for that very reason. It's a little clunky, but it works.

Tammy Howard said...

I use 'one', but usually facetiously.

casssitterly said...

I am feeling like the odd ball out in the grammatically correct land of parenthood. I am 99% positive that I have heard it uttered from (at least one one of) my children's mouths as "whatcha guyses doin'?"
Ok, I correct the funner, I correct the ain't, I even correct the alarma clock...and the random utterance of where you at? (I usually go to that response from my childhood friend, ahem, of Where are you at a**hole?.. don't end a sentence with a prepostion.."(feel guilty for your influence yet Tam?) now I feel horrible for not attacking all that is wrong when they utter guyses...whatcha and doin......

casssitterly said...

and oh - noone said it better than Ms Moreno..."HEY YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!"

Anita said...

Being from the south, y'all sound correct, but in my midwest growing up too I hear "you ins" or something phonetically like that, and honestly it drove me bonkers.
It has to be a national consensus, because then I know how to complain when I see my kids friends rip it up in texting (which comes up wrong in spell check thank you) and their FB messages........argh!!

Housewife Savant said...

I always hated youse. I cringe when my Wisconsin family uses it, and I was mortified the first time I saw it in print.
It speaks volumes about Pollacks.

Ya'll speaks volumes too. Ya'll is a lifestyle.
I'm gonna embrace the ya'll, but I'm still brushing my teeth (prett'near ever' day.)

Pam said...

Here in RI it's YOUSE. Drives me crazy! I am kind of a grammar nazi and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I still remember the first time I heard about "all y'all". My husbands cousins moved to TX (form CO) for a job and when they visited us (in AZ) for Thanksgiving they couldn't wait to tell us that they learned that the plural of y'all was all y'all. We all had a good laugh about that. To an East Coaster that sounds really funny. Don't youse all agree?

Tammy Howard said...

Oh Cass! You crack my stuff right up! Tom gets more hung up on ending sentences with prepositions than I do (half the time to not do so makes you sound stilted - kinda like Jenny's reference to 'one'. "To what would one be referring?") - but I still am rather apt to say, where you at, a**hole if I'm tempted to correct. Sorry about all the corruption and all. You turned out ok despite my influence...

Pam said...

Apparently I'm not a punctuation or spelling Nazi, however. Corrections: husband's
from

Where is spell check when you need it. YIKES!

Tammy Howard said...

Pam - Youse all!!! Awesome!!! How 'bout all youse guyses all..."Are all youse guyses all gonna go?" Oh dear - I'm laughing, on the outside and hoping my kids don't say that on the inside...

Anita - you're right - the consensus must be national and official, so we know who to make fun of - I mean gently correct.

HS, I hear ya! (or is that ya'll?) Youns probably sounds the worst to my ears because it just puts such a bad light on the area where I grew up (which is, in many ways, such a lovely area).

Jenny Penny said...

I laughed at Housewife Savant's comment. I live in Wisconsin but grew up in Arizona. People here do say "youse" quite a bit. When I was a kid and would visit my grandparents in Minnesota, I used to think they were kind of on the not-bright side because they said that word. They also said "youse guys," and they said it through their noses and then gave me Canadian pennies and said they were as good as American pennies. Those guyses! Golly geez.

P.S. A little ammunition for you: It's actually considered okay to end sentences in a preposition nowadays if it would be weird to work it otherwise. Grammarians and most of us in the editing world came around to Winston Churchill's good sense on that one. :)

Gibby said...

Like casssitterly, I have someone in our house who says guyses...she's 5. LOL!

Alex the Girl said...

Okay, I fess up. I've said you guyses. Well, its suppose to be You guys's, but I didn't have spell check either. English is confusing.

mama-face said...

So many things to worry about...now I will lay awake worrying about this situation.

Guyses. haha. I bet I've said that a zillion timeses without realizing it.

Renee said...

"All y'alls". Reminds me of growing up way to close to southern GA. I still catch myself saying y'all and people look at me.

Kathy B! said...

We say you guyses, as well as pantses... I see speech therapy for us :)

April said...

Visiting from SITS! I'm from the south, born and raised, so I say y'all all the time! Have a good one!

FranticMommy said...

Us Norveegins up here in Minnersoter like to say "youse guys". As is "hey youse guys. Wanna come over for some hotdish?"Don't cha know?

Brandy said...

I'm all about ya'll as you know. It's part of my DNA...