2

I understand that you'se is not considered a formal English word by the Oxford. Colloquially, many people use the word you'se all the time in common conversation. As such, there is a gap in formal English for pointing out the subject as two or more people being adressed. For example, if I were to say

You should buy that Lear Jet.

It would be pronounced the same as

You [people] should buy that Lear Jet.

The only thing separating the two statements is context, which is sometimes hard to encapsulate across different media etc.

Why then is you'se not a formal word for this situation? For example:

You'se [all people being addressed] should buy that Lear Jet.

It becomes obvious that verbally, the pronoun of the conversation is now referencing more than one person and dispelling confusion. I understand that ye was the Middle English form of this word. As such, why is you'se frowned upon?

Edit: For non-Australians, the word you'se is equivalent to y'all and can be substituted throughout my question.

9
  • Have you really heard "you'se" used as a subject, before a word that begins with a consonant? "You lot should..." or "Y'all should..." sound natural enough, but "you'se should" sounds quite odd, I think. I've always heard "you'se" or "yinz" as an object or object of a preposition, I think. (Although neither is terribly common in my area.)
    – Annick
    Jan 16, 2014 at 5:06
  • 1
    Absolutely. Where I'm from (Australia) this is a very common phrase as I've described. I would say that Y'all is the American equivalent of the Australian you'se and is almost completely not used. Jan 16, 2014 at 5:08
  • Why close? Deficiencies in the language are no embarrassment, let the Q stay, I'd say.
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:02
  • Have you checked this out? oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/youse
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:03
  • 2
    I've never seen an apostrophe in the spelling of "youse"; What part of Australia is this variant from?
    – user867
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:37

2 Answers 2

3

Contemporary English does not have a second-person plural. To make up for this deficiency, various dialectical forms have evolved. Youse, you'se, you-all, and several other forms have evolved, but none are universally accepted.

"You people" is potentially derogatory and might best be avoided.

4
  • The situation is no better than with the inclusive we.
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:01
  • 1
    While this answer does provide useful information, it doesn't appear to answer the question "why is you'se frowned upon?"
    – user867
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:40
  • @user867 Thanks! Regional dialects tend to be looked upon as with a degree of distrust by those who did not grow up hearing and speaking them because they are "non-standard." "Youse" is sometimes used as a singular pronoun, a fact that was not mentioned in my answer. Maybe I don't hear it because I grew up using you(s) and y'all(pl). Jan 16, 2014 at 14:02
  • @MichaelOwenSartin Thanks for providing that information. Might I suggest you edit it in to the answer, since it's what was asked for?
    – user867
    Jan 17, 2014 at 2:54
0

youse
Pronunciation: /juːz/
(also yous)
pronoun
dialect
you (usually more than one person).

Chiefly US:

youse
pron. Chiefly Northern U.S.
You. Used in addressing two or more people or referring to two or more people, one of whom is addressed. See Notes at you-all, you-uns.
[you + -s.]

Sometimes as youse guys [Boston, New York and Philadelphia]:

yous
- The term is predominantly used in Scotland and Ireland and throughout Australia, as well as overseas areas of previous Irish emigration e.g. some parts of the US (Boston, MA and Philadelphia, PA) and northern Nova Scotia and Lanark Ontario/Canada and South Auckland, New Zealand. It also occurs in Scouse.
- Yous(e) as a plural is found in Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, parts of the northern United States, and parts of Ontario. Yous(e) as a singular is found in Philadelphia, New York, Boston and scattered throughout working class Italian-American communities in the Rust Belt.

6
  • There's a different (AAVE) use for youse as well?: you is -- as in Youse a damn fool en.wiktionary.org/wiki/youse
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:12
  • While this answer does provide useful information, it doesn't appear to answer the question "why is you'se frowned upon?"
    – Hugo
    Jan 16, 2014 at 9:16
  • @Hugo you'se is not frowned upon, thus that part of the question is a NARQ. It's not listed as a formal word because it has the status of 'dialect' -- dialect is not 'low English,' please note.
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:00
  • 2
    You'se may be frowned upon in formal writing. // The other question -- "Why then is you'se not a formal word for this situation?" -- is not addressed here either.
    – Hugo
    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:19
  • 1
    In some parts of Ireland "ye" is very commonly used instead of "youse".
    – tinyd
    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.