[Ads-l] Possessive plurals

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 1 14:36:15 UTC 2023

Another factor may be double inflection, as when the past tense of “sleepwalk” is rendered as “sleptwalked” or when the plural of “housewife” is pronounced “houzwivez” /hauzwaivz/, although I concede that “you guys” is not a compound like those two (or “res publica”, to hark back a ways) but a phrase.  


> On Jun 1, 2023, at 9:31 AM, Ben Yagoda <byagoda at UDEL.EDU> wrote:
> This reminds me of two things. First, a pleonastic possessive I’ve been noticing for five or six years: rendering the possessive of “you guys” as “your guys'.” (I’ve mostly heard in in speech, but I imagine in print an apostrophe would come after the s, as I’ve written it.) First heard it on “Car Talk,” when a caller asked for “your guys’ opinion.” My guess is that it stemmed partly from the fact that “you guys’” sounds the same as “you guys,” unless you go for the awkward extra syllable (as in Jonathan’s example” “you guyzez.”
> The second thing that comes to mind is something I’ve heard a few times recently: pronouncing the plural “incidents” as “incidences.”
> Ben
> www.benyagoda.com <http://www.benyagoda.com/> 
>> Date:    Wed, 31 May 2023 12:02:18 -0400
>> From:    Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject: Possessive plurals
>> I've been watching these Latin lessons on YouTube:
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWUlrL6E_QU
>> The instructor (a native speaker of English evidently, and
>> youthful-sounding)  is clearly well educated, and he knows Latin.
>> However, he says "abLAYtive" instead of "ABlative." He also talks about
>> "female," "male," and "neutral" nouns instead of masculine, feminine, and
>> neuter. More to the point, though, he routinely pronounces English
>> possessive plurals with an excrescent "iz."
>> Exx: students' > "studentsiz"
>>       soldiers'   > "soldierziz."
>> Is this something we should be doing? Or is it just a pedagogical stratagem?
>> JL
>> -- 
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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