Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 15:07:36 -0500 From: "Peter L. Patrick" Subject: Re: 2 pl Just to weigh in, I don't quite agree on a couple of points that have been offered. First, use of "(you) guys" as an address form is definitely not just an adolescent thing. I've used it gender-neutrally all my life (I'm 35), since childhood in suburban Westchester (is that a retronym?), and I know people older than me who do too. My older sister-in-law, from Chicago/St.Louis/Northern NJ (in that order) regularly uses it to address her two daughters. Feminists may mind its increasing use as a so-called "generic masculine", but facts is facts: it is being used, and not just by marginal groups (teens, men). My guess is it will not replace "y'all", though, for as long as Southerners want to be different from Northerners (certainly the foreseeable future!). I became a "y'all" user after moving to Georgia at age 15 (1974-82), but it's one of the single most salient dialect- markers I can think of. For me, my Southern phonology was incompatible with "you guys", just as my Northern accent sounds ridiculous with "y'all". But maybe in medial places like Indiana, etc, it's different. Finally, Larry clearly seems to be right but maybe it could be phrased as: referential (3rd-person) "guys" = [+masculine], while any use of "guys" as an address form (with or without "you") is at least potentially neutral for me. At the same time, it can still be used as an AF in clearly [+masc] contexts, eg in the context of an opposition to a [+fem] term: "OK, guys on the right, women on the left. Now, GUYS..." No confusion there, but as a first-mention perhaps it can be ambiguous? --peter patrick PS. Interesting Q: if "you guys" as neutral is spreading in the NE, is there any effect on the gender-neutrality of other 2pl forms it comes into contact with (youse, you'uns/yinz, etc.)?