24-Y by Roger

 



I don’t think I considered it until I took French in high school, but I realized at that point that standard English was deficient. While French has tu for second person singular and vous for second person plural, English uses the word you for both. I subsequently discovered that most languages followed the French rule, such as German du/ihr and Russian ty/vy.

So some groups have developed their own set of second person plural pronouns, such as y’all and yous. Some Australians, just like some Americans and some Brits, have for many years now been happily using valid second person plural pronouns. It helps in clear communication, allows succinctness of expression, and, sadly, has invariably been associated with a lack of education and low socio-economic status.

But it is not the failure of the speakers, it’s the failure of the language. These words do not reflect ignorance on the part of speakers who use them, but a legitimate linguistic development called leveling by morphological analogy, whereby missing pieces of the grammar are generated by analogy with other parts of grammar. In other words, people instinctively create words when the meaning would otherwise be ambiguous.

Thus English is lacking here, but it was not always so. The King James Bible, e.g. has a perfectly useful pairing, thou for singular, ye for plural. Over the years, however, the terms meshed.

My basic point is that perhaps we ought not to deride those people who have creatively addressed a linguistic need.

Twelve years ago, the TIME person of the year was YOU. Read all about it.

Here are three songs, all very different, called You:
Marvin Gaye
George Harrison
R.E.M.

I am hoping YOU will visit YOUR compatriots on the ABC Wednesday platform.

(Yes, I stole this post from myself in January 2011. If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!)

5 thoughts on “24-Y by Roger

  1. Roger,

    So what you’re saying is I’m not a country bumpkin for saying ‘Y’all’? 😀 I have not studied a foreign language it’s interesting to learn that they have single and plural forms for YOU. I never really thought about this until reading your post, nor did I know the difference between Thou and Ye. I always thought they were the same so I learned something new. Thanks for the sharing the Time magazine Person of the Year link and the three ‘You’ song inductions. 🙂 You did alright resurfacing your material for new eYes.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Roger,
    Your post is interesting. Every language has its own system. My mother tongue Punjabi has 35 letters in its alphabet. It has some peculiar sounds which do not exist in the English language. In Punjabi and also in Hindi there are two words to refer to 2nd person singular and plural.

    Liked by 1 person

Feel free to share your thoughts, we would love to read them!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.