Why is There No Plural of "You" in the English Language?

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  1. eugbug profile image98
    eugbugposted 15 months ago

    Why is There No Plural of "You" in the English Language?

  2. lisavollrath profile image95
    lisavollrathposted 15 months ago

    There is, if you live in Texas, where the plural of "you" is "y'all", or, for a large group of people, "all y'all".

    1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image91
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      That's great! And in NYC I hear it's "youse."

    2. lisavollrath profile image95
      lisavollrathposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      It is "youse"! My New York relatives say that all the time.

    3. Patty Inglish, MS profile image91
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      What fun!

    4. profile image59
      Simran Mahtaniposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      That's great!

    5. profile image0
      GalaxyRatposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      Basically, in the South, it's Y'all, like Lisa said.

  3. eugbug profile image98
    eugbugposted 15 months ago

    It's a wonder a standard plural for you was never invented. Or maybe there was but it is no longer used. In Ireland "ye" is regularly used, at least outside "The Pale".

    1. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 15 months agoin reply to this

      As in Scotland, it was the 'Aengle' and Danes who taught the Irish the English language as it was at the time. English Royalists and followers of James II taught them more and Oliver Cromwell's 'Ironsides' finished off the lesson. War teaches well.

  4. alancaster149 profile image83
    alancaster149posted 15 months ago

    Likewise in the North of England "you'se lot" or just "you'se" is used to address more than one, although that's just between people of the same status (working class).
    Seriously, in the early days of written English there was a letter known as 'thorn' that looked like a stretched 'p'. With the coming of the printed word and the Gutenberg Bible in the 15th Century the 'p' symbol was not included in the printing alphabet brought over from Germany and the Netherlands. So the letter was simplified to a 'y' (as if the top of the 'p' had been sliced off and the tail of the 'y' added). "Thou" became "You". "Thee", the formal address to strangers or those of elevated society that fell out of use had also been used as the plural address.
    In Broad Yorkshire, used in some villages or small towns, "Thou" and "Thee" are still in use. Quakers (The Society of Friends) also use "Thou" and "Thee". Confusing, innit?

    1. eugbug profile image98
      eugbugposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      That's all very interesting Alan. When the thorn character was replaced by 'y' in printed text, was thou pronounced as it is today, or was the 'y' sound used and thou prounced as you?

    2. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 15 months agoin reply to this

      In some areas "you" was pronounced as "yow". By and large it would be a gradual change amongst the un-educated classes. Among the literati and well-off it filtered through quicker (Oxford, Cambridge etc. Hang on, I'll slip into my time machine)...

  5. bradmasterOCcal profile image28
    bradmasterOCcalposted 15 months ago

    Eugbug

    It probably wasn't invented because it would be meaningless. You is meant to speak to an individual or a group of people that can be tied together in some common connection.

    The context determines the subject or subjects of the statement. The question that YOU wrote here ..... versus making a statement to a group, like the democrats at a rally. You must join me in making our party ........

    My point is that the English language is beyond most languages in having multitudes of ways to say things, maybe too many.
    imo

    1. eugbug profile image98
      eugbugposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      The French use 'vous', it seems to be an oversight that English has no equivalent and all sorts of literary contrivances have to be made up to "fix" the omission.

    2. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 15 months agoin reply to this

      It's a language for non-conformists, Eugene. French, German, Italian and Spanish are languages that demand conformity, otherwise they (make out as such) that they can't understand you. English is not as exacting; maybe it's why refugees flock here

    3. bradmasterOCcal profile image28
      bradmasterOCcalposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      Alan, that is cold. At least we didn't adopt the masculine feminine nomenclature, which requires memory rather than rule. Spelling would be a lot simpler, if we didn't have multinational language roots. Translate to American is difficult. Cheers

  6. J.S.Matthew profile image83
    J.S.Matthewposted 15 months ago

    Just as it is in New York, in Massachusetts we say, "you's" as in "You's guys are all late!"

    JSMatthew~

  7. RTalloni profile image87
    RTalloniposted 15 months ago

    Hey y'all, this neat discussion gives one pause for thought.  You see, youse have to understand that in every region of this marvelous land there are Americans with roots from all over this amazing world.  You'uns offer some clever ways to ponder the topic and it's likely it will continue to be fun stuff.  I for one am looking forward to how you guys continue to discuss the options.  Yawl keep it up now, ya' hear?  And remember, in parts of Texas it's okay to spell y'all, ya'll!  Ain't language usage cute?  wink

    1. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 15 months agoin reply to this

      Marion Morris (aka John Wayne) appeared on a TV chat show here and declared, "I speak American, not English!" Course, I know now, it's "Texicana" (a mix of Scots, Yorkshire, German, Irish and Italian).
      Tha knows his ain clan was Irish

    2. RTalloni profile image87
      RTalloniposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      Ah am thinkin' that thar is a great quote to use when explaining America's English! wink

  8. ValKaras profile image85
    ValKarasposted 15 months ago

    I don't mind if my answer sounds a bit silly, but for a humorous tone of it I'll say it just the same.
    I think that the pronoun "you" doesn't have a plural because the pronoun "I" is always capitalized---meaning that in those olden times when the language was invented, written English was mostly done by the nobility, so there was a dignifying distinction made between "I" and "non-I", and non-I didn't "deserve" to be specified as long as it didn't mean "I".
    When addressing another noble person, (just like these days), "you" was not used not to belittle the "non-I", but instead it was "Your Highness", "Your Excellence"...etc.

    Thus, sorry to say it, but in my view it was a sheer linguistic arrogance of distinguishing "I" from "non-I".

    I can see a little of that arrogance in other examples---like pronouncing Latin words English way. Latin is still an important international language often used in terminologies along with some Greek expressions.
    So, those learned academics could have accepted the proper Latin pronouncing---if they wanted to. Instead, plural of "octopus" being "octopi" they pronounce with its ending that sounds like "....pie"---not as ...."pea", which would be originally proper way.  Words with similar endings are equally mispronounced---like cactus-cacti, stimulus-stimuli.

    When it's about Greek words, "homosexual" is wrong, because the word is not Latin, in which  case "homo-sexual" would simply mean: "sexual man". The proper word is Greek, and it is "homeosexual" (with an "e" after "hom"), meaning "sex between the same genders". Again, "homo" is the Latin for "man", and "homeo" is the Greek for "same". (By the way, it is properly spelled and pronounced in the word "homeopathy", meaning "same remedy as the cause of sickness").

    But, who cares, I guess, we can always just call those folks "gay", never mind Latin or Greek. And "gay" used to be a nice English word for "merry"---so even there they couldn't invent something original. Well, ask me if I care.

    1. ValKaras profile image85
      ValKarasposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      Let me add a bit to my little "theory" of "linguistic arrogance": note how in English there are no female gender forms for most of professions, like: a doctor, a professor, an astronaut, a captain... with some exceptions like an actress, stuardesse..

    2. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 14 months agoin reply to this

      The '-ess' in these instances has been dropped some time now, Val.
      "God rest ye merry, gentlefolk" is the answer.
      (There's nowt so queer as folk, especially as them that don't want to be stereotyped).

    3. RachaelLefler profile image95
      RachaelLeflerposted 14 months agoin reply to this

      It's probably because the Greek word for "sexual" would have been "erotic", but in English "homoerotic" already meant something that alludes to homosexual behavior, so they needed to use "sexual" for the behavior itself, or the orientation.

  9. Glenis Rix profile image99
    Glenis Rixposted 15 months ago

    Actually, I've noticed that here in England during the past few years young people who have not been taught correct grammar frequently substitute "yous" for the collective "you".  A reflection on the deplorable state of our education system.

    1. eugbug profile image98
      eugbugposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      The problem is Glenis, there is no pronoun for the collective you. So are they not being inventive?

    2. RTalloni profile image87
      RTalloniposted 15 months agoin reply to this

      Inventive...can't fault that! Especially when pondering an honest question re a pronoun for you. But it is a very good thing to learn correct grammar and be well practiced in using it.

    3. profile image0
      S Mareeposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      In the Bronx of New York, "yous" or "yous guys" was commonly heard on the street in the early 1900's.  It was picked up by Hollywood & used in lots of mobster movies.  The character of Archie Bunker spoke it frequently.

  10. Minhas333 profile image65
    Minhas333posted 14 months ago

    You is the plural of you. The chart of pronouns I have read here in Pakistan says that you has on plural which is you.

  11. profile image57
    Alex Dernstposted 14 months ago

    I was always under the assumption that it has no plural because it was already being used as plural, in a formal form, for the word "thee" along with "thou".
    A bigger mystery would be why sheep, shrimp & moose have none!

    1. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 14 months agoin reply to this

      They are a 'collective' form, Alex, along with fish and folk. So no 's' on the end. Different issue, methinks

  12. melissae1963 profile image80
    melissae1963posted 14 months ago

    In the English language, the plural for "you" is "you". "You" is a subjective pronoun and an objective pronoun. For example, we can write, "You are learning the English language." We can also write, "I'm teaching the English language to you."

  13. deeplypoetic profile image82
    deeplypoeticposted 14 months ago

    "You" is not the only word in the English language that represents both the singular and plural versions of the word.  I do not believe that it is grammatically incorrect to say "you all, " if it bothers you to say "you" in a plural context.  However, "you" is singular and plural.  The only difference is in the reflexive tense-- "yourself" is singular, and "yourselves" is plural.

    1. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 14 months agoin reply to this

      The 'collective' in English came through changes in the alphabet through print, as I indicated elsewhere. Other forms were shared in colloquial Danelaw English with the parent language, 'Du' (fam), 'De' (form/pl), 'Deres' (form/pl), 'Din' (sing)

  14. Himangshu Goswami profile image61
    Himangshu Goswamiposted 14 months ago

    You can mean singularly one person or many persons at once. It may be because sometimes when we say you we may not know whether it is singular or plural......

  15. profile image0
    gogibsposted 14 months ago

    Because when you are talking to just one person you has to be singular. The same way if you are talking to a group of persons you takes on plural form. And ways of talking will also come with added words like: You people, all of you, you guys.

  16. RachaelLefler profile image95
    RachaelLeflerposted 14 months ago

    In the Midwest, we say "you guys".
    Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.Your answer is too short. Please make it longer.

  17. profile image0
    S Mareeposted 13 months ago

    I remember in the old days people saying " yourn".  Don't know where it  came from, but my family has a Scots-Irish line.  Sorta sounds hill-billy.  A lot of the hill folks kept usages long discarded by advancing English.  Not sure if "yourn" was meant for "yours" or a plural of "you".

    Am I on track or a foul ball in left field?

    1. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 13 months agoin reply to this

      North of the Border the Picts and Scots learned their English from the Northumbrian Angles and Anglo-Danes who took land as far as Edinburgh (Pictish: Dinas Eidin, Gaelic: Dunedin. "Your'n" is "your one" or "yours" ["This is mine, that's your'n"].

 
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