America Needs ‘Y’all’


I love when smart people use their smarts to tear down / question societal norms and sound cool.

Take Van Newkirk's article in the Atlantic, why 'Merica needs "Ya'll"!

There are no distinct second-person plural pronouns in modern standard English. “Ye” once served that purpose; a good look at the King James version of the Bible can give a sense of the usage. “Ye are the light of the world,” Jesus told a crowd in Galilee. But nowadays, “ye” and some other fun Middle English pronouns have fallen by the wayside, except at Medieval Times and in fantasy novels. Even “thou,” the etymological informal brother of “you,” fell off the linguistic map around the 17th century.*

Which—thanks to the abandonment of the formal/informal system of pronouns influenced by French—leaves us with one word: “you,” that pronoun-of-all-trades. “You” is all we English-speakers have to refer to any person or group or large crowd, regardless of status or size.

How did this happen? Anyone who’s used English in any capacity knows that “you” is a sorry excuse for a plural pronoun. Imagine the confusion of walking into a crowded room and yelling, “You need to listen up!” Who would everyone assume you were referring to? How could they tell? It’s rare to find a scenario in which a person is clearly addressing a group of people that doesn’t include an implied qualifier (as in, in the context of a speech) or an unnecessarily long explicit qualifier (“you all”) to specify that “you” is doing the duty that it has been assigned as a plural pronoun. This is some terribly inefficient language, and it’s high time for a fix. It’s time for “y’all.”

SOLD! And being the trailblazer / risk taker / hell raiser that I am...expect to see me using ya'll alot more frequently (like in my latest blog post about Godzilla)...cuz good English. <3

KB

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