6

"Y'all" is the famous southern US form of the 2nd person plural. The Brooklyn / Italian-American "youse" might be another.

While the existence and usage of "y'all" has been addressed somewhat thoroughly here: What is the proper usage of "Y'all" in southern American dialects , I've found nothing else on EL&U regarding 2nd person plural forms in other English dialects.

I know there was a dual form in Old English (Dual (grammatical number)) does that survive in any of the dialects in the Danelaw? Do Scots / Gaelic / Welsh / Australian / other dialects retain any type of 2nd person plural / dual in modern usage?

  • 5
    Um. All dialects retain the 2nd person plural. Most have lost the 2nd person singular, and use the historical plural form for it. Some have invented new plural forms. – Colin Fine Sep 24 '12 at 22:20
  • 1
    @tchrist: I remember the first time I heard someone from the south use y'all when referring to just me. She was being friendly, of course, and hospitable, but it still sounded odd: "Y'all wanna go with us?" she asked. I glanced to my left, then to my right, and replied, "Okay - w'all go!" – J.R. Sep 24 '12 at 22:42
11

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You#Informal_plural_forms:

  • y'all, or you all - southern United States and African American Vernacular English
  • you guys - U.S., particularly in the Midwest, Northeast, and West Coast; Canada, Australia. Used regardless of the genders of those referred to
  • you lot - UK
  • yous(e) - Ireland, Tyneside, Merseyside, Central Scotland
  • youse guys - in the U.S., particularly in New York City region, Philadelphia, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; also spelt without the E
  • you-uns/yinz - Western Pennsylvania, The Appalachians
  • ye/yee/yees - Ireland, Tyneside
  • "yous(e)" and "youse guys" is occasionally overheard in Wisconsin, as well. It makes me cringe when I hear it. – Zoot Sep 24 '12 at 19:51
  • Yous is also used in Australia. I used to hear it at school in Sydney, but I think it is more a Western than Eastern Sydney phenomenon. – Daniel Harbour Sep 24 '12 at 20:21
  • worth noting is that in the Philly and Jersey area, "yous" is use singular as well. It gives it more of a condescending vibe. – Ataraxia Sep 24 '12 at 21:07
  • Let the language evolve and improve. Lack of a 2nd person plural is a bad thing so I say to youse, bring it on :-) – k1eran Jul 22 '16 at 1:44
  • related map of the US – Crissov Jan 12 '18 at 23:30
3

In North East England and Scotland, 'youse' (rhymes with loose not lose) is a colloquial form for the 2nd person plural. Maybe this is where the New York form orignated from.

Also, 'you lot' or 'you all' can be used informally and colloquially in all UK dialects.

2

In my youth (the 1950s and 1960s), my grandmother regularly used the term ye when referring to more than one of her grandchildren.

She was born in the US and grew up in northern Pennsylvania. Her father was born in Ireland and emigrated to the US as a youth.

1

The possessive is even more problematic here (Western Canada). The most common spoken form could be rendered "yer guyzes" (as in "shall we meet at our place or yer guyzes place?"). This strikes me as a monstrosity, and yet there is no commonly-used alternative aside from simply "your" which is generally avoided except when used in the singular. I have never seen this in writing which is why I'm only giving a phonetic version; most writers I know will do verbal gymnastics to avoid the necessity of such a possessive phrase.

In the US South I think they may say "Y'all's". Of course they seem to have the opposite problem -- its a natural construct to distinguish plural yet they appear to use it for both singular and plural. Dang.

  • Can you add a reference to such a usage? A good answer should include a source and not just state your opinion or experience. – Helmar Jul 21 '16 at 12:03

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