, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I think y’all is a cool word that neatly solves a problem of plural address that other languages don’t face (e.g. ‘ustedes’ in Spanish); appreciating the usefulness of a genderless linguistic tool associated with Southern culture seems less “problematic” to me than using ‘guys’
The argument here seems to be that northerners using “y’all” instead of “guys” is cultural appropriation, but this reads to me as insincere. Katie points out that “guys” may have started as a male-gendered term but morphed into a default for 2+ people of any gender.
This is a common phenomenon whereby male but not female terms evolve into generics, retaining their male connotation, and it likely reflects the dominant status of males in society (why didn’t “you gals” become the default?). Now, I don’t think saying “you guys” is all that bad,
and I generally don’t like administrators weighing in on people’s word-choice, no matter how noble the intent (what Katie was objecting to, in part, & I agree with this); but if “guys” is argued to have become (relatively) gender neutral through linguistic evolution as a way of
solving a problem - and Katie seems fine with that - why can’t “y’all” evolve into (relatively) non-Southern through linguistic evolution, as a way of solving that same problem, albeit more successfully or at least with less gendered baggage? “Guys” has gender built into its
original meaning, and it clearly retains male connotations, even if they have softened over time; by contrast, “y’all” just means “you all” - it is a perfectly sensible contraction - and it just happens to have been more common in Southern dialects of English historically.
I had thought that cultural appropriation, insofar as it really is objectionable (as opposed to more respectful cultural sharing or borrowing or exchange), had to do with taking a cultural practice or artifact that has special, even intimate value for one group, and employing
it in a different cultural context in a way that shows disrespect to the first group - either by profiting off it without crediting its origins or using it in a demeaning way, or what have you. But non-Southerners who use “y’all” instead of “you guys” don’t seem to be doing that.
Rather, they seem to be taking a term that, as Katie notes, is often *devalued* even in the South (as having a connotation of lower class speech), and *elevating* its status - respectfully and non-ironically showing appreciation for its usefulness & gender neutrality. If so, then
the claim that “y’all” is equally problematic as “you guys” (I hope the argument isn’t supposed to rest on the fact that the administrators accidentally misspelled the word “ya’ll”!) seems not quite right. Am I misreading your argument @kittypurrzog?
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Brian D. Earp
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!