LINGUIST List 4.813

Mon 11 Oct 1993

Disc: Y'all

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. "Leslie Z. Morgan", youse-all
  2. "David A. Johns", "You guys"

Message 1: youse-all

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1993 08:04 ESTyouse-all
From: "Leslie Z. Morgan" <MORGANLOYOLA.EDU>
Subject: youse-all

Here's a new one to me: yesterday a circuit went out
in our house and we had to call an electrician. Upon
departure, he said, "be seeing youse-alls." Looks like
double or triple pluralization: youse, you-all, + s.

Leslie Morgan
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Message 2: "You guys"

Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1993 06:20 EDT"You guys"
From: "David A. Johns" <DJOHNSUFPINE.bitnet>
Subject: "You guys"

Denis Baron writes:

> There is opposition to _you guys_ on the grounds that it
> represents yet another generic masculine. Opinion on this list
> and several others I consulted at the time showed either strong
> objection to the form or surprise at such objection. Yet it is
> certainly a popular form among my undergraduates, even those
> with sharpened linguistic consciousness. Though when I point
> out that _guys_ is masculine in origin, some of them decide to
> avoid it. (Fred Cassidy reminded me that one etymology of guy
> traces it to carny lingo for the guy rope or wire that holds up
> tents, tightropes, or whatever. But even so, it has had a
> clear masculine referent for a couple of centuries.)

Are you assuming that if these undergraduates continue to use "you
guys" after realizing that "guy" is derived from a masculine form,
they must be insensitive to the "sexism in language" issue?

Could it be that they reject your premise -- either that etymology is
destiny or that the meaning of a form in one context necessarily
bleeds into uses in other contexts?

David Johns
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