Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In Defence of Y'all

So one of the natural consequences of teaching English is that you very aware of all the weird little things about the English language that drive everyone else crazy. Things that never caught my attention when I glanced over it in reading or writing.

One of the worst is the lack of a plural form of you...Hold on I will explain.

When we talk about different people using verbs....we alter the verb to fit our relationship to whatever we are talking about. Most of us do this as second nature. Think about the following statements.

I am happy.
You are happy.
He (she/it) is happy.

There's nothing wild...nothing crazy about these sentences...and yet at the same time notice the change in the verb. It went from "am" to "are" to "is" depending on who was happy. Again...this we do this without even thinking.

But one thing you will notice about the 3 sentences above is that they only talk about one person. "I", "you", "he", "she", and "it" Well, that's easy enough to fix.

He/She/It turns into "They"

I turns into "We"

You we have a problem!!!

There is no plural form of you. Oh sure you can use you again....but that is awkward and strange sounding. (but is strangely enough grammatically correct) (I first learned about this in Spanish class a decade ago in high school...but like everything in high school I promptly forgot it...they have a little thing called the "ustedes" version of verbs)

So what to do....what to do...

Well I grew up using "you guys". Which works...but has downside of using the word "guys" Well, in our new age new found age of post-modern-neo-uber-feminism...any reference to a girl using the word guy is going to start offending someone...and quick. Instead we need to find a new word or words that work whenever a teacher addresses their students.

I'm choosing Y'ALL !!!

It's short, sweet and people from all over American already use it. Now the problem with it is that is not considered "proper" English. Says who! The same people that let one sixth of the English langauge remain broken for hundreds of years? They say it's not correct? Well then let them propose a fix before they start complaining!!! That's the beauty of languages...they evolve. We do not speak in the same way as people did 100 years ago... and they didn't speak the same was people 2o0 years did. So with all the changes that has happened in the past hundreds of years... NO ONE HAS FIXED ENGLISH.

Well some people have at least. Those crazy southerns fixed English years ago...we've been too blind to see it.

So the next time you see someone watching a car drive in a circles for hours and hours and hours....know something. Their language has evolved and yours has not.

Oh...and the picture. Almost the same view as last week's picture...but taken from about 4 steps back. That is the room I've called home for almost 2 months now. Hardwood floors...rock hard bed...and a little laptop I use to keep in touch with the rest of the world.


  1. Actually, Phil, you're a bit off here...

    "Y'all" is singular.

    "ALL y'all" is plural.

  2. Ha ha. I told him that but with the "yous all" variation.