What're youse doing?
A stalwart and consistently divisive member of the Australian English language, youse appears to be here to stay.
This unusual word was first recorded back in the 1890s, and is is a borrowing from Irish English, where it is usually spelt yez. It is interesting to note that Irish Gaelic did have a separate plural for the form of the second person pronoun, and thus it is only sensible that they created one in their own variety of English.
1901 `You've stuck at home pretty constant, and ye and Lizer can have a little fly round. It'll do yous good,' she said.
Miles Franklin My Brilliant Career 187
That said, English you does not distinguish singular from plural. The form youse does provide a plural, contrasting with singular you, but there is strong resistance to it, in spoken as well as written usage, and it remains non-standard.
Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.
Check out our featured articles:
Macquarie Dictionary Blog archives
2015 (58) 2015 (58)
2014 (67) 2014 (67)
2013 (28) 2013 (28)
2012 (19) 2012 (19)
2011 (18) 2011 (18)
2010 (20) 2010 (20)
2009 (3) 2009 (3)
2008 (2) 2008 (2)
1998 (1) 1998 (1)
Most searched terms
Join Macquarie Dictionary today!
Enjoy all the great features by subscribing today.