Re: Sexism and Pronouns

Subject: Re: Sexism and Pronouns
From: Loryn Jenkins <loryn -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 11:56:20 +1000

>Mike Huber wrote:

>> I understand the southern US "you all" is now used as
>> the formal singular.

>For the benefit of all you Yankees, "you all" (or the contraction
>"y'all") is a plural form of "you," just like "youse guys" or whatever
>you all say up there. What you see in TV & movies is wrong...nobody
>uses "you all" or "y'all" as a singular.

>Seriously, isn't English one of the very few languages without a plural
>form of "you?"

Yes. Well, one language that has socially unacceptable forms to certain
varieties. It just so happens that the 'dominant' varieties, the 'power'
varieties, of English do not. Many varieties (dialects) use quite regular
expressions for plural you. (youse, y'all, etc.).

Because the members of society who wield power, influence, write books,
teach children, etc. generally speak the variety/ies that don't use plural
you, it is considered 'unacceptable' to many.

Plural you has existed for centuries in English. It has always been a
social marker, a marker of someone who speaks a 'lower-class' dialect of



>Tracy Boyington
>Technical Communication Specialist
>Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
>Stillwater, Oklahoma

>I never express opinions, but if one slips out, it belongs
>to me and not ODVTE.

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