Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 00:08:43 -0600

From: "James C. Stalker" stalker[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: 2 pl

A late entry in this discussion. I have not been reading my email for

awhile, but just finished the long and interesting discussion of 2nd plural,

"you guys." I have followed this usage in Michigan for some 20 years now.

When I was recently arrived, it was gender specific. "Guy" was male,

singular or plural, in all contexts. Within these twenty years, "you guys"

became the generic, non-gender marked plural. When I ask my classes, hence

reported data, they are willing to accept you guys as including males and

females and for groups which are all female. They still will not accept

"guy" (sg) as female in any context. "Guys" can be all female, as in "Let's

go guys." Consulting with the even younger set, namely my soon to be 18 year


son, he allows that guys or you guys is non-gendered, but that he would

address an older group (like his teachers) using guys only in very relaxed

situations, so for him it seems to be strongly +informal . It is not the

gender which is an issue, but the formality. You guys is too informal to

use when addressing the other world, adults.

Clearly second plurals arouse interest. The data from the Collective

Unconscious (whether recovered or not) seems to clearly indicate that we are

psychologically in need of a singular and plural you and that we will have

one (or two or three), depending on what yous guys want, as they say (or

usta say) in Wisconsin.


James C. Stalker stalker[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or stalker[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of English 517/355 1781 Home 517/336 7118

Michigan State University