LINGUIST List 2.709

Fri 25 Oct 1991

Disc: He goes

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. AHARRIS - Alan Harris, all
  2. "Bruce E. Nevin", precursors for be like etc.
  3. "Bruce E. Nevin", be all etc.
  4. Ron Smyth, Re: 2.704 You-Guys
  5. Dennis Baron, guy(s)
  6. "ALICE FREED", RE: 2.704 You-Guys

Message 1: all

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1991 04:22:19 EDT
From: AHARRIS - Alan Harris <vcspc005VAX.CSUN.EDU>
Subject: all
Tom Shannon''s description of He/she's all. . . and he/she's like. . . is
entirely correct for Valley Talk, as, I think , for all of southern
California. I might add that, although much of Valley talk is rejected by
college students as socially undesirable, this quotative persisits in their
speech and is a clear substitute for us older fogies' I says etc~[
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Message 2: precursors for be like etc.

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 91 07:54:46 EDT
From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <bnevinccb.bbn.com>
Subject: precursors for be like etc.
	That's like cool, man.
		'50s "beat" subculture < BEV
I remember language pundits inveighing against "like" as an adverb
in the early '60s, referring to this "beatnik" usage.
	Bruce Nevin
	bnbbn.com
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Message 3: be all etc.

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 91 07:19:14 EDT
From: "Bruce E. Nevin" <bnevinccb.bbn.com>
Subject: be all etc.
I propose that these locutions be called not quotatives but
soundbiteatives. They mark something that would stand out
from the general drone and be memorable on TV. They often
include visual and kinesthetic aspects, but so do socalled
sound bites. I doubt there is any parallel closer than
true quotatives in cultures lacking TVs.
	Wryly,
	Bruce Nevin
	bnbbn.com
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Message 4: Re: 2.704 You-Guys

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 91 01:27:51 EDT
From: Ron Smyth <smythlake.scar.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Re: 2.704 You-Guys
For the record, in northwestern Ontario, 'youse' is common but marked as
lower SEC (even by those who aren't, but use it). 'You guys' is gender neutral,
but still not quite an unanalyzed form, so if you ask users you'll find that
they are reluctant to say they use it for women. Nobody has mentioned
"youse guys" -- the plural with lower SEC connotations; no better and no worse
than "youse", but worse than "you guys".
Ron Smyth
smythlake.scar.utoronto.ca
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Message 5: guy(s)

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 91 9:13:58 CDT
From: Dennis Baron <baronux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: guy(s)
_Guy_ in reference to people is usu. derived from Guy Fawkes, and
from the effigy, called a Guy, traditionally burned on Guy Fawkes
day; intermediate sense of guy = grotesquely dressed person. OED
claims use of _guy_ in the sense we have been discussing (=person)
is chiefly US. Websters 9th New Collegiate Dictionary notes, "used
in pl. to refer to members of a group regardless of sex <saw her
and the rest of the guys>" while the new "politically correct"
Random House Webster's College Dictionary notes, "The use of guys
meaning `people' or `folks' in reference either to a mixed group
or to a group of women has drawn criticism as sexist language,
no matter who employs it." Webster's Dictionary of English Usage
opts for a British, rather than American, origin of the modern
sense, `person,' ca. mid-19th c., adding, "it can also be used
of women and corporations; it truly has become a term for "just
any person." Could objections to guy as sexist signal that the
word indeed has gone neutral and that some people are trying to
drag it back to its former [+masc] sense? Or is it still a
mixed form that some find m. and some n.?
--
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Message 6: RE: 2.704 You-Guys

Date: 25 Oct 91 11:18:00 EST
From: "ALICE FREED" <freedapollo.montclair.edu>
Subject: RE: 2.704 You-Guys
I am surprised (shocked?) to see the number of people stating
that pronominal _you guys_ is "absolutely/totally gender neutral"
(Scott Delancey, Barbara Partee, etc.). While the exchange about
2nd person plural pronouns in English is an interesting one, it
should not lead us to ignore issues which go beyond a narrow
discussion of reference. We have been this route before.
There IS a difference between wide-spread usage, some prescribed
and some inherited socially, and claims about the "meaning" of a
term. When_he/his_ was first prescribed for agreement with
sex-indefinite referents, despite common usage (then and now) of
_they/their_, it did not change the "meaning" of the pronoun
_he_. When a woman in her 40's, 50's 60's, etc. is referred to
as a _girl_, it does not change the meaning of _girl._ Although
_man_ may have started off as a generic, since it later became
male-specific, it is now at best ambiguous. Studies have
consistently shown that people hear and understand generic _man_
to include primarily male humans. The fact that children learn
the male-specific meaning first may have a lot to do with this.
Now we have our most recent example of the male form being used
as a generic --once again, maleness becomes the norm.
For many of us who grew up singing songs from "Guys and Dolls" as
well as for our students who refer to boys as _guys_ and girls as
_girls_, a guy is still a guy, despite the the fact that _you
guys_ is used in addressing girls and women. For us it is ALWAYS
sex-specific.
>From a social, shall we call it prescriptive feminist standpoint,
I object to its usage and believe that it is damaging to girls
and should be avoided. Here of course, is where the disagreement
comes in. May I ask what the Whorfians would say?
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