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Plural for "You"

From Wikimedia 
A map of the United States indicating regional variation in the word(s) one uses to address a group of two or more people

Here's something I found interesting that I'd like to share. 


1. Y'ALL

Used primarily in the Southern US, this is a shortening of the phrase "you all," which is also used in its full form as a plural address. It may have been introduced to America by Ulster Scots immigrants who used the phrase "ye aw." Y'all also has a possessive form, as in, "How was y'all's day?"

2. YINZ

This one is a hallmark of the dialect known as "Pittsburghese." People who speak this dialect are referred to as "yinzers."

3. YOU-UNS

Yinz originates from this form, also used in the Ohio River Valley around Pittsburgh. It's a shortening of "you ones," a usage that goes as far back as Chaucer.

4. YOU GUYS

In the parts of the U.S. where they don't use "y'all," they use "you guys" instead, as shown on the map above.

5. YOU LOT

The "you guys" of Britain.
6. YOUS/YOUSE
This one is found all over the English-speaking world, from Ireland to South Africa, to New Zealand, to New Jersey. It makes a lot of sense. How do you make something plural? Add an 's'!

7. YE

When English had a plural form back in the Renaissance, this was it. It is still used in Ireland.

8. SUPER PLURALS

Sometimes a plural is simply not plural enough. That's when it's time to pull out "yees," "all y'all," and "youse guys."
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4 comments:

  1. I heard "youse" a lot when I was a kid growing up. But it was a term used only by those with little education.

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  2. Fun post, John :)

    I was born down south and I know "y'all" very well :))

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  3. An interesting lessen. I am a "you guys" person.

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  4. I also heard "youse" a lot when I was young. One teacher tried to break the habit by explaining that ewes (youse) were sheep and we shouldn't be referring to friends or other people as sheep. By the end of that year most of the kids in her class weren't saying 'youse' at school, although they might still have at home.

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