Monday, September 11, 2006

you

In a recent thread at Better Bibles Blog, the subject of 2nd person plural pronoun in English came up. One of the commenters remarked that he personally feels that a separate pronoun should be introduced to avoid confusion. I replied that at least in American English, that is already happening and the frontrunner seems to be "you guys". Willing to make any sacrifice at the altar of science, I set out to gather evidence from current American usage (i.e. I pulled out the dvds of all my favorite shows).
However, a few hours later I stumbled across the website of the Harvard Dialect Survey, which aims to map the current state of (American) English. The questions and the survey criteria chosen are interesting enough, judge for yourselves:

74. What do you call the little gray creature (that looks like an insect but is actually a crustacean) that rolls up into a ball when you touch it?
75. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
76. What term do you use to refer to something that is across both streets from you at an intersection (or diagonally across from you in general)?

Among the many fascinating information about current American usage and culture, my eye fell on the following:
50. What word(s) do you use to address a group of two or more people?
So without further ado, let us proceed directly to the top three, in ascending order:
At number three, with 13.99%, we have (drumroll)... y'all! What can I say, folks, except Git-r-done!
With 24.82% of the vote, the second place belongs to (drumroll)... you. Ehm. Er. Well, booooooooooooooooooooooooring!
And the winner, with astonishing 42.53%, is (drrrrrrrrumroll)... you guys!!! (music, confetti, tears, flowers etc.)

See, I told you so.

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