Looping Loony Languages Lyrically

I love alliteration! Me encanta la aliteración! Ik hou alliteratie! Is breá liom uaim!


One thing I try not to do anymore is stop writing in the middle of a sentence–even if it makes me late going back to work or whatever. It’s one thing remembering where you were going with a plot in the middle of a paragraph; it’s quite another to try to figure out what exactly you were trying to say in the middle of a line.

In this case, I started a post concept and now have no idea where I meant to go with it.

I have a feeling it was something about pronouns (and other random grammar), however, so that’s where we’re going.


(If you’re bored by grammar and linguistics, you’re welcome to stop here.)

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that “Southernisms” don’t translate, because they certainly do. Or at least “y’all” does.

(Also, don’t let anyone tell you Google Translate is “the worst translator in the world”…it’s fine if you know enough about grammar to fix it [which is why I’ll be jumping examples like crazy here, because I don’t know as much Dutch and Irish grammar as I do Spanish] and it’s a whole lot better than piecing words together yourself from a dictionary! You should see the crap I used to put together before I learned Spanish grammar in high school and invested in a better dictionary!)


See there’s a Spanish pronoun called “ustedes” [oo-stead-ace] that’s referred to as “you (plural)”. It seems weird to me–and probably a lot of people–because when we say “you” in English, we mean either singular or plural, but in the sense of “jointly and severally”. (Unless you’re in the South, where “y’all” comes into play.) But instead of having one word with two meanings (as is often the case in English, if you think about it), Spanish has two words. (Or three, if you count the fact that singular “you” is divided into formal and informal.)

Here’s the concept in action:

English: Would y’all like some pie?

Spanish: (Ustedes)* quieren un poco de pastel?

(*A lot of times, we simply leave the pronoun out, especially when it’s “I, you or we”–hence the parenthesis)


But wait, there’s more!

Dutch also has their own version of y’all/ustedes: “jullie”! [Yul-lee]

How do I know that jullie is the same as ustedes? Let’s look at the definitions:

Ustedes: is used to address a two or more people and can be formal or informal. Since most Central and Latin American countries do not use vosotros, ustedes is used in all forms of plural address and the corresponding verb is conjugated in the third person plural form. [Source]

Jullie: The informal second person pronouns jij and jullie are generally used when speaking to family and friends. The second person formal pronoun u is used with strangers and with superiors. [Source] (Not such a great example, but I needed something else to go with the better one, since they say not to use Wikipedia/Wiktionary as as primary source.)

Sounds like we can add “jullie” to our list, hm?

English: Would y’all like some pie?

Spanish: (Ustedes) quieren un poco de pastel?

Dutch:Willen jullie wat taart?*
*I’m only partially sure that’s correct.

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