Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You (pl)

Surely Time magazine will suffer ongoing embarrassment for its stupid Person of the Year decision: You, of course. (Not me.) But Colbert again brings a little language angle to this deal: He started with a bit about how English lacks a sg-pl distinction in second person pronouns, so that he could have known that it wasn't him particularly who won, but all of us. (Well, everybody but me ... I really don't want to be PotY.) Of course, even a high class Charleston guy like Colbert surely grew up with y'all for the plural.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Oh come on, is it really so clear that Time would have used a plural pronoun here? In German, I could easily imagine the reader being addressed in the singular. And in my own dialect (with choices of which plural pronoun to use here!) I think either singular or plural would be fine. Especially for 'person of the year' (*people of the year), the singular might sound better. My fellow Carolinian may be good at inventing words, but he needs a little help with linguistic analysis.