[Ads-l] Heard: _you guys_ = "you women"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Mar 27 00:57:30 UTC 2016

Earlier such cites in HDAS, including this one from a 1932 American Speech article:

One girl to others:  "Come on, guys".

A 1942 article in the Journal of General Psychology cites a similar utterance, "Come on, you guys", and comments "'Guy' is used without regard to age or sex'", although I suspect this held in 1942 largely for plural vocatives (with or without the pronoun) or for non-referential cases in which someone (of either sex) is described as "a good/regular/real guy".  Jon has the same sense, glossing 'a person of either sex regarded as decent, down-to-earth, good company, etc.; (hence) (in pl., usu. following "you") persons of either sex' and adding the time-stamp (not to be confused with those more recent stamps) "[The second nuance has become notably common in direct address among young women only ca1940].

(I'm not sure on whether Jon's "among" is intended to characterize young women as addressees or as speakers, but the cites do pick up right around then, although the 1932 AmSp one above indicates "(you) guys" for female addressess wasn't unknown in the previous decade.   Don't know what sort of data we can find for nuns as addressees; maybe it's the informality that's more surprising than the gender-nonspecificity.


> On Mar 26, 2016, at 5:37 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> In an episode of Diagnosis Murder, Dick Van Dyke as Mark Sloan, MD, says to
> a group of nuns in their convent:
> "Here is what I want _you guys_ to do."
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__en.wikipedia.org_wiki_Diagnosis-3A-5FMurder-5F-28season-5F1-29&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=n5pK3Ud_dgRHd1gR07req4nSH986J0V9n-DxT4-qBgQ&s=XdEnhYQ7GbEX-YZIkWGH3TCvZ6UeLE9uTr8UEWyZCJ8&e= 
> Episode 19: "Sister Michael Wants You"
> Date: May 13, 1994
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=n5pK3Ud_dgRHd1gR07req4nSH986J0V9n-DxT4-qBgQ&s=impZwjl-6rJhlnCZccZU01ZuqbV57vZW9w4H9xpbbB0&e= 

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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