Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 11:09:39 -0500
From: debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 10:45:06 -0500
From: Dennis Baron baron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ux1.cso.uiuc.edu
To: baron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ux1.cso.uiuc.edu
Thought y'all'd be interested in this extension of an old discussion:
From: peter[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]fourier.newcastle.edu.au (Peter Moylan)
Subject: Re: "You" [was: herstory-this bugs me]
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 1994 23:26:17 GMT
Greg Resch (resch[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cpcug.org) wrote:
[Comments about the loss of "thou" and "thee"]
dwharper[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ingr.com (Dan Harper) wrote:
Sorry, perhaps I should have written, "There seems to be a real need in
English for a plural second person pronoun that is different in form from
the singular second person pronoun."
I can almost agree with that, except that there *was* one, which we seem
(*supra*) to have dropped. That, and my objection to a related attempt
now in vogue to institute the use of "they" for the putatively offensive
"he" and "she," are why I object to a *new* "separate" form.
But the "you-all" and "youse" mentioned earlier are dialectal in America,
so I can not accept them as having gained some "pluplural" meaning. Sorry.
There is a small part of the USA where "y'all" seems to be doing
its job as a plural; on the other hand, we've seen complaints in
this group that some people are now using "y'all" as a _singular_
Something similar is happening in Australia. One does hear "youse"
moderately often - although it has never been adopted by the
"educated" speakers - and at first sight this appears to satisfy
the need for a plural pronoun. I have noticed, however, that many
people who use "youse" have started using "youses" as the plural
form, which suggests that they think of "youse" as being singular.
My overall impression is that native English speakers don't want to
have separate pronouns for the second person singular and plural.
Whenever a new plural form is introduced, it evolves to the point
where the singular/plural distinction is lost again.
I thought the parallel to what may be happening with the third
person was obvious.
I'm not at all convinced that there is a parallel. Blurring the
singular/plural distinction in the third person works in some
situations, but not in others. The words "he", "she", and "it"
show no sign at all of following "thou" into oblivion.
Peter Moylan peter[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ee.newcastle.edu.au
(also peter[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]tesla.newcastle.edu.au, eepjm[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uiuc.edu
Department of English 217-333-2392
University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321
608 South Wright Street
Urbana, Illinois 61801