Correct Youse of English: Your Personal Dialect Map is Here

Thought I was done with regional English? No chance.

The Irish Times recently predicted that the phrase you guys” will soon be accepted as the new second-person plural pronoun in English. As a native Dubliner, I am very familiar with such evolution, the locals already having adopted “youse” and “yiz” as replacements for the pronoun. As pointed out by Frank McNally in the Irish Times article, you can also hear the use of “ye” in south and the west of Ireland, and “yousuns” in the north of the country.

Now, the New York Times has gone one further and used such dialect variants as “y’all”, “youse”,  “you guys” and more, and lots of other regional phrases too, as a way to gives a clue as to where you might be from based on how you speak.

Ultan's personal dialect map (Visualization copyright of New York Times)
Ultan’s personal dialect map (Visualization generation copyright of The New York Times)

The newspaper has created an interactive visualization tool using heatmaps overlaid on a map of the United States of America generated from your answers to some dialect-driven questions. You, too, can now create your own personal dialect map. It’s fun!

Although it’s a U.S.-based map, I was amazed to see how many phrases I was using regularly, even from places I had never been to (sorry Newark / Paterson and Yonkers).

That’s language evolution for youse.

Try it yourself.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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