Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The English language sadly lacks a pronoun for second person plural. All we have is the all-purpose "you," which does double duty now that "thee" and "thou" have been claimed as the exclusive territory of Shakespearean actors and Quakers. However, as our President often reminds us, Americans are the most resourceful people on earth, so in the south we have "y'all," and in New York you got your "youse." (In certain neighborhoods "youse" is preempted by "dabodiuz," if it means two only.) Most resourceful of all, of late, are the Californians. As Woody Allen pointed out, California gave us French fried onion rings and the right turn on a red light. He forgot to mention things made out of silicon that you can't even see. And of late, more and more, our western frontier of language has given us the useful and (though slightly inaccurate half the time) endearing "youguys." As we drove down the Central Valley last year at Christmastime we were struck by (battered by) the word everywhere we stopped. "Are youguys ready to order?" "How are youguys this morning?" And my favorite, the second person plural possessive: "Yourguys's room is on the third floor, so youguys are going to take yourguys's car around to the side of the building and park near the..."

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