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It seems to me that grammatical number in English is gradually disappearing.

Some symptoms:

  • no singular 2nd person pronounce, the "you" becomes limited to one person while "yall" develops for multiple persons (both grammatically plural)

  • singular "they" etc.

  • interchangeable use of singular and plural with "I", "me".

  • "four billion" and alike

  • "ten foot long" and alike in rising colloquial use

  • "thanks" as singular

  • indication of number by only apostrophe in some cases with no pronunciation difference

  • use of article to indicate number in some cases without morphological change to the words with one of the forms completely becomes unused (two dice - a dice, two billion - a billion etc)

All these things would not be possible in a language with strong grammatical number, thus I suppose the number dies out in English. Am I correct?

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I don't understand your 3rd and 4th examples. –  Mitch Feb 28 '12 at 17:33
Since this concerns the future and speculation, I can't see how this is answerable appropriate for here. –  Mitch Feb 28 '12 at 17:34
These sound incredibly localised. To my ear these would be southern USA only. –  Rory Alsop Feb 28 '12 at 17:34
@Anixx: You should probably take this one to linguistics.se[linguistics.stackexchange.com/] They'll probably say "No, language evolution is like the biological type - it has no 'direction'", but for what it's worth I personally do think there's an overarching trend to simplification. On the other hand, note that many Scots have "invented" youse for plural (since English has discarded thou, and they still want the distinction sometimes). Same with Texans and y'all. –  FumbleFingers Feb 28 '12 at 17:58
Every one of the 'symptoms' given is incorrect. Forms like "ten foot pole" come from Anglo-Saxon and are about as far from 'new' as one could get. –  Mark Beadles Feb 28 '12 at 18:01
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closed as not constructive by Mitch, FumbleFingers, waiwai933 Feb 28 '12 at 17:59

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