Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's true, yo is for real

According to a recent article in Duke University's American Speech, a new, gender-neutral pronoun has been discovered! Shout it from the rooftops! Yo is king! The English language has been rocked and you will never look at pronouns the same way again!

The intro to the study:

Elaine M. Stotko and Margaret Troyer
Johns Hopkins University

This article presents data collected on the use of yo in schools in Baltimore as a new third-person singular pronoun, as in Yo handin' out papers `She (the teacher) is handing out papers' and Peep yo `Look at him'. In the spring of 2004, a number of middle and high school teachers enrolled in a graduate linguistics class for teachers noted that their students at certain city schools were using yo in place of he or she. The authors collected spontaneous occurrences of the pronoun and then designed several writing activities and sentence judgment tasks. The tasks were administered to more than 200 students in two unrelated schools in Baltimore. It was clear from the results that students in these two schools use yo as a gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun, primarily in subject position. Limited follow-up was conducted in the spring of 2007.

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