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Old 08-31-2010, 08:30 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
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OK, there's a thread running on the use of Ma'am, which has brought up some other regional differences of speach, including the generic use of "you guys"

First off I'm a Midwesterner but lived in thr Delaware Valley most of my life. Secondly, I am a Baby Boomer, so I know what I am talking about. I was there.

Way back before political correctness was ever thought up, people were speaking to groups of people. If it was a group of males, the group was addressed you guys. A group of females was you gals. A mixed group was guys & gals. This was also back in the days of segregated want ads. Help wanted Male, Help wanted Female, Help wanted Male or Female.

As females were allowed, because of the EEOC laws, to work in jobs that had formerly fallen into the Help wanted Male category (the good jobs), the now mixed groups would be addressed as guys & gals. This did not sit well with many females (me included), & a polite request would be made, "Just say guys, & I won't be offended."

Why in the world did we do this? Well, gals was a term that came with baggage. It was a term generically applied to all females, regardless of race, that was the equivalent (in the north, anyway) of the terms boy or girl as they were applied in the south.

Over a period of time, this spread & you guys became the northern equivalent of y'all.

This was a change initialed by Baby boomer females, & was on a case by case basis. There was no movement or agenda. I remember telling my mother after I had requested that a co-worker not single me out. I thought that she would be appalled, but instead, she lit up & said, that's a great idea! I like that! Later, she told me that she had told some of her friends & found out that the friends with daughters about my age reported that their daughters were doing the same. Sometime later I was talking to a childhood friend in Michigan & found out that she had also done it.

Does this help to explain what, apparently, is a peculiar northern custom of speech?

 
Old 08-31-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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My mom is in her 60s and she has said it her whole life (I asked). They also say it out west, so it's not just a Midwestern/Northern phrase.

From what I understand, if you're from the Delaware valley, you should be saying "youse guys" not "you guys". There are several different variations, such as Pittsburgh's "yins".

Words have no inherent meaning; they are only given meaning from the intent of the user. How anyone could be offended by a meaningless generic phrase such as "you guys" is beyond me.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 09:02 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastalgirl View Post
My mom is in her 60s and she has said it her whole life (I asked). They also say it out west, so it's not just a Midwestern/Northern phrase.

From what I understand, if you're from the Delaware valley, you should be saying "youse guys" not "you guys". There are several different variations, such as Pittsburgh's "yins".

Words have no inherent meaning; they are only given meaning from the intent of the user. How anyone could be offended by a meaningless generic phrase such as "you guys" is beyond me.
I'm originally from Michigan.

Yous guys is a Philadelphia term, but is generally used by lower classes. Middle class was guys & gals, just like in the Midwest. Youse guys (different pronunciation) is a North Jersey/NY thing & I have no idea if there is/was a class thing connected to it.

Prior to what I spoke of, females did address groups of other females as you guys, because most females were insulted by the term gal. I left that piece out because I was just referring to when it became a generally accepted generic. Ask your mother about if the men used to refer to females as gals.

ETA, & believe me, in the north, there was intent behind the use of gal/s.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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In French, Italian, Spanish and probably many, many languages, the words of "all of you" or "all of them" (plurals) are always masculine. Likewise, if you want to say "The Italian people", the word is "Italiani", which is also the masculine word.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 09:10 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckles34 View Post
In French, Italian, Spanish and probably many, many languages, the words of "all of you" or "all of them" (plurals) are always masculine. Likewise, if you want to say "The Italian people", the word is "Italiani", which is also the masculine word.
I think German & other Germanic languages as well.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Lansing, MI
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I spent most of my life in MI and was raised with the term "you guys" - didn't realize it was specific to a region until I came to NC.

As the phrase "I'm going to run to the .. "
 
Old 08-31-2010, 09:36 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,814 posts, read 34,722,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chance2jump View Post
I spent most of my life in MI and was raised with the term "you guys" - didn't realize it was specific to a region until I came to NC.

As the phrase "I'm going to run to the .. "
LOL, I picked up the "I'm, going to run to. . ." & have a couple of friends from out west who think that it's a crazy expression.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Indian Trail, NC
930 posts, read 2,163,123 times
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I'm originally from WV and have always said you guys. I don't think I really have ever know anyone that said y"all, I've just heard it on tv.

In Fl, they say fixin to, I say going to.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 10:45 AM
 
Location: The 12th State
22,974 posts, read 65,562,150 times
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This one has different view than the Term Ma'am = Ma'dam
Ya'll is just a term that is familiar to region you grew up in

It wasnt recognize til 1909 and it wasnt a shorten way to say you guys but
an abbreviated version for You-all which sounds more proper if your not comfortable
with Y'all.
I could care less far as this term I just know when someone says You guys aint from around here.
 
Old 08-31-2010, 10:53 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,814 posts, read 34,722,678 times
Reputation: 10256
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebalogas View Post
I'm originally from WV and have always said you guys. I don't think I really have ever know anyone that said y"all, I've just heard it on tv.

In Fl, they say fixin to, I say going to.
LOL, growing up in Michigan in the 50s & early 60s, "fixin' to" was still around. The elderly who had grown up there used it all of the time, & the younger generations did use it, in informal situations, but we were taught, in school, not to use it. (& I had a great grandmother who always called cars vehicles, & pronounced the h.)

I had an older friend whose husband was from WV, & he said you guys. I didn't know if that was because he left WV when he went to college & didn't move back.

Last edited by southbound_295; 08-31-2010 at 11:02 AM..
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