Monday, January 24, 2011

Second person singular

The article that provoked the minor argument regarded the different American accents and the use of slang and contractions on messaging sites that displayed this. The offending section follows:

But both stem from the same problem: the lack of a distinct form for the second person plural in English: "yinz" is a contraction of "you ones", while "y'all" is short for "you all".
We do have a second person plural in English it's "you". What is lacking is a second person singular; or to be precise we are now lacking such. The second person singular equivalent of "you" is "thee".

Grammatically to those of history saying "You are a reader of this entry" is as wrong as saying "I am a readers of this entry".

The singular form became conflated with the informal/intimate use and then dropped from the radar of our language in almost all circumstances. Ironic that such contractions are being created to account for a deficiency that need not exist.