2d plurals (was: "man" vs. "guy" redux)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 21 13:38:29 UTC 2002

At 9:41 PM -0600 11/20/02, Millie Webb wrote:
>And then there is the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) gender neutral
>pronoun, "youse guys" and "youse guys's"  (yes, I have heard even that
>second one on enough occasions from more than one person, to actually label
>it "productive" as a dialectal phrasing, and not just one confused person's
>last-second scramble.)  And you can't (for the most part anyway) use just
>"youse" in the UP, in my experience: it has to be "youse guys".  -- Millie
I've never been to the U.P. so it must have been in non-Youper
contexts that I've heard "youse guys's" for the plural possessive.
Speaking of which, or rather of an old related topic, I was at the
pharmacy counter of my health plan a couple of weeks ago (the only
person standing there waiting to pick up a prescription) and the
pharmacist (female, 30-ish, African-American) chastised me (pointing
to the roped-off area a few yards back), "Y'all have to stand back
there".  Definitely a second-person singular "y'all", although it
could be argued that it designated "you and anyone else (not now
present) in your situation".


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