The Instigator
PoeJoe
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points
The Contender
StephenAlsop
Con (against)
Losing
35 Points

The Pronoun "Yall"

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
PoeJoe
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,846 times Debate No: 10373
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (23)
Votes (12)

 

PoeJoe

Pro

I strongly affirm the resolution "that the pronoun 'yall' should be considered acceptable in modern American English," and thank my opponent for engaging with me in this truly controversial and taboo subject.

Let's begin.

Nowadays, the word "you" can be used for at least three main purposes:

1) Increasingly, even among professional writers and journalists, it is becoming acceptable to use "you" as an indefinite pronoun (e.g. to be emotionally happy, you have to be spiritually happy as well). At the same time, the indefinite pronoun "one" is becoming increasingly awkward to the modern reader, and has inspired much unnecessary debate, such as the one regarding whether subsequent pronouns referencing "one" should be "he," "she," "he or she," or interchangeably "he" and "she." All these absurd debates would be resolved if we simply allowed "you" as an indefinite pronoun.

2) "You" can be a second person singular plural (e.g. John, you are dumb).

3) "You" can be a second person plural pronoun (e.g. My friends, you are stupid).

We also know these three facts:

1) English is the only major language not to have a second person plural pronoun or at the very least, an easy way around this problem. For example, in a few dialects of Spanish, "vosotros" is used as the second person plural pronoun. Most dialects of Spanish, however, do not have the luxury of this second person plural pronoun. But speakers of these Spanist dialects use the words "Usted" and "Ustedes" to compensate, which--although technically grammatically treated as third person pronouns (in terms of verb conjugation)--serve as an easy and formal way around the second person plural pronoun problem.

2) English speakers desperately want a second person plural pronoun. This is evident, as English speakers speak such phrases as "you guys" and "you all" all the time. The problem with phrases such as "you guys," however, is that...well, it's just that...a phrase, not a pronoun. "Guys" is modifying "you." Two words, not one.

3) Language is a changing phenomenon, and millions of Americans currently use the term "yall." Linguistic chauvinists are elitists who are not in line with the modern American.

Now let's examine scenarios in which the pronoun "you" may lead to ambiguity or confusion:

1) Sally is walking alone in the mall. She has just bought, like, the most cutest pink shoes ever ever in the whole entire world. She is excited. She wants to tell someone. Luckily for her, she sees her two best friends, Barbie and Kenneth, in the hair saloon. Quickly she runs to them, and says, "Oh my god oh my god. You won't believe it. I just bought, like, the most cutest pink shoes ever ever in the whole entire world." Now, is Sally talking to Barbie, who is her best friend? Is Sally talking to Kenneth, who is Barbie's boyfriend and whom Sally wants to take to a back alley and show what a 'good time' truly means (that celibate bitch treats him wrong!). Or is Sally simply talking to both? We don't know.

2) I wrote the above to demonstrate that, for writers writing in the third person, this 'you' problem can prove disastrous. But also, the 'you' problem presents a conundrum in the first, second, and omniscient point of views. For the first person and omniscient point of views--especially in nonfiction writing--how is a reader to distinguish between the "you" meaning the reader whom the writing is addressing, the "you" meaning an indefinite pronoun, the "you" meaning society, the "you" addressing one character in a story, and the "you" addressing multiple characters in a story? Especially in artsy fiction (metafiction, postmodernism, etc.), many writers have broken the fourth wall, deliberately and flamboyantly. Many have even had dialogues with their characters mid-story. This obviously presents a problem. And for fiction written in the second person? Oh, disaster awaits. If only "yall" were accepted in modern American English.

3) So, are you with me?
StephenAlsop

Con

First i would like to thank everyone
Im going to just jump into this one.

Now as my opponent has the resolution i will offer my own, he belives that the slang term "Yall" should become a pronoun. As i am con i will be debating that is has no place in the english laguage.

Refute:
First my opponent stated that "Yall" is being use more and more in modern litarature First this stand is both false and not supported. Second the idea behind it is flawed because the only books it is really in are those that are fetured in say alabama or some other rural state.
Second my opponent stated that that the word "you" is already able to be used in multiple ways thus it is not nessasary to add another word such as "Yall", In fact it would only serve to further destroy the english language.

Last and no offence to my opponent but i know that i would not vote for an english speaking president that used the word "Yall" durring all of his speeches.
As for my opponents senarios they all seem childishly silly no offence to my opponent ment =)

My two main points are 1) the toll on the english language and 2) It is a slang term that was invented thru years of lesser education.

Now lets all picture obama giving a speech but instead of using the words you all he says "Yall" repeatedly i personally know that i would not have voted for such an illeterate president.
First is the toll on the english language and to be honest with you our language already has slang terms in it and this causes a problem if "yall" becomes a word then children in school everywere will start using it and this will only serve to push the english litaracy over the cliff becuase our children would sound like a bunch of 19 century slaves from the gheto. You would see our very smart knolegabe president saying yall to the world every press confrence and nobody in another country woul even bother envying us anymore.

Second is that this is one of many slang terms now used by kids growing up in the gheto it was a slang term invented by those african american farmers durring the time of the resolution when education was scarce and people talked like they had molasses dripping out of the side of their mouth.

Because this will only serve to destoy the english language i urge a strong vote in the Negation of this resolution.

P.S. pro will you please refrain from using cuss words i find them offending and not nessasary.=(
Debate Round No. 1
PoeJoe

Pro

I do not know what my opponent is trying to imply. But I have a profound respect for the English language. It is for this respect that I post this debate. Unfortunately, as evident in his opening statement, my opponent may not be as well versed in English grammar. It is apparent my opponent did not comprehend the substance of my argument.

My opponent stated, "First my opponent stated that "Yall" is being use (sic) more and more in modern litarature (sic)." This is a straw man argument. It was my contention that the word "you" is becoming increasingly acceptable as an indefinite pronoun, even among professional writers and journalists. This new usage adds onto the two other main uses the word "you" already wields, causing much unnecessary debate and confusion among writers and grammarians. All this confusion would be cleared up if "yall" were considered acceptable in modern American English, because writers would not have to worry about ambiguity caused by the dual nature of "you," being both singular and plural.

I never said the word "yall" was being used more and more in modern literature. What I did say was that the word "you" is causing much distress among writers and journalists, particularly post modernists, but among all writers alike. I listed many examples of this. Granted, my first example was tongue-and-cheek made only to clarify what I meant by "ambiguity." My opponent seems unaware of all the subsequent examples following the first.

My opponent then went on to say, "Last and no offence (sic) to my opponent but i (sic) know that i (sic) would not vote for an english (sic) speaking president that used the word 'Yall' durring (sic) all of his speeches." This counterargument holds no merit, because even if the word 'yall' were to become acceptable in modern American English, this new acceptance would not magically make president Obama start using the word. Moreover, my opponent is free to vote however he likes. This is not a debate about the political ramifications or ethnic subcategories of language. This is a debate solely about the nature of it.

And that's the beauty of it all. Language changes. It is a developing phenomenon. English would not exist without German, and German would not exist without the romantic languages--no romantic languages without Latin, an so on. This is a debate over the hypothetical acceptability of the word 'yall.' The resolution? "That the pronoun 'yall' should be considered acceptable in modern American English."

I've already presented my case. I could reiterate my opening statement--they seem to have flown over my opponent's head--but I'll let it stand. My opponent has yet to address any of it.

That said, I thank my opponent for this wonderful debate. It was a pleasure.
StephenAlsop

Con

I did not let your points fly over my head i covered every one of them thank you=)

Now i have only one last comment to say here.

now while my opponent loosely refuted my points i seem to be able to understand his, he thinks that becuase some lazy journalists wish to have it easy by not just saying all of you or you all my opponent belive we should put the word "Yall" in the english language it has not been countered yet that the word yall seems highly uneducated becuase it was born in a time when education was hard to find, other countries would not belive that the american presidint did say to iraq, "yall are gonna pay for what you did to them two towers we had standing right there" becuse the word yall seems just as uneducated as the rest of that phrase.

Because my opponents has not given ligitimate points and becuase my major reasons have stood i urge a strong vote in the negation! Thank everyone once again this was a fun debate
Debate Round No. 2
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
"Y'all" is an contraction like "ain't," not a word by itself.
Posted by True2GaGa 7 years ago
True2GaGa
Lol. It wouold not offend me!
Posted by True2GaGa 7 years ago
True2GaGa
Lol. It wouold not offend me!
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
It would be interesting, PoeJoe, but I think I would be in danger of insulting my American friends on this site by commenting on their dialect!
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
Would you like a shot at this, brian?
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
I used the word "bitch": "Is Sally talking to Kenneth, who is Barbie's boyfriend and whom Sally wants to take to a back alley and show what a 'good time' truly means (that celibate bitch treats him wrong!)."
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
This was very a very interesting debate from the point of view of someone who speaks "English" English because I often find it would be useful to use a plural form of "you" akin to the French "vous" or German "Sie".

However, to use an Americanism such as "y'all" or "you guys" would sound ridiculously pretentious and the English version "you chaps" old-fashioned and overtly snobbish.

By the way, PoeJoe, in my modest opinion, was the clear winner here and I didn't spot any of the profanities he was accused of using.
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
Or, alternatively, we could debate the words "that" and "which." It is my contention that they are completely interchangeable.
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
In any case, if anybody wants to redo this debate with me, please tell me.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Agree with Chry below me.
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