During the most recent secret meeting of the Futurological Linguists Association, a meeting so secret that at least half of the participants did not realize they were in fact FLA members, an amazing thing happened. There was a fiery flash in the middle of the table, and suddenly we found a manuscript, badly damaged and on fire. We put it out and read what we could. Below is the content of the manuscript, as best we were able to decipher it. The text has been backdated, so as to be more understandable to the Modern English Reader. I am grateful for the help of Yua Maus, Ron Deindl and Pam Talja, who have helped in the decipherment. All remaining errors, though, are my own.
This is what we were able to devise, er, decipher. Ponder it as you will. Long Live Futurological Linguistics!
To begin, eedu would like to state bar t'purposes in writing this paper. First, eedu wish to describe the history of one of the languages descendant from Post Modern English, South Central (SC), which eedu speak. Specifically, the formation of the dual, and its effects on the SC pronoun system as a whole. Second, in our (the scientific community as a whole) work to reconstruct and progress beyond the science of the period just after the t'WIII, we have used and profited by the limited references saved from that time: one issue of Langue du Monde, with the incomplete article by unknown authors that has inspired the science of Linguistic Physics; the invaluable math t'texts Mathematics Made Difficult and The Dot and the Line. Eedu are endeavoring to transmit this manuscript of bours back in time to the late Twenty First Century, using the methods of Linguistic Physics.
Recent Changes in the English Pronoun System.
We are familiar with the current SC pronoun system, as shown in Figure 1.
Singular Dual Plural 1 Nom I eedu we Acc me bovus us Gen my bar our PossPro mine bours ours 2 Nom you you you Acc you you you Gen your your your PossPro yours yours yours 3 Nom he/she/it/they bos tha'll Acc him/her/it/them boam them'll Gen his/her/its/their beir tha'll's PossPro his/hers/its/theirs beirs tha'll's FIGURE 1
The original (Post Modern English, SC dialect) pronoun system on the subcontinent of Texas is shown in Figure 2. Notice first the obvious lack of the dual. Also, there are differences in the plural pronouns. These will all be discussed chronologically.
Singular Plural 1 Nom I we Acc me us Gen my our PossPro mine ours 2 Nom you ya'll Acc you ya'll Gen your ya'll's PossPro yours ya'll's 3 Nom he/she/it/they they Acc him/her/it/them them Gen his/her/its/their their PossPro his/hers/its/theirs theirs FIGURE 2
First, eedu wish to explain the spelling of the ya'll t'forms, which most scholars agree are a contraction of you all. Apparently, since this form was substandard before becoming widely accepted, the spelling was based on analogy with forms like I'll, you'll, they'll etc., despite the unrelated origins of the ll. After ya'll had become a well settled fact of life, there was a sudden prominence of use of the phrase we two as a pseudo-dual. This form became standardized in dialectal speech, and finally spread to the standard dialect. It has changed only slightly: [ˈwitu] > [ˈwidu] > [ˈidu].
The other three parts of the first person dual followed as both of us >
[ˈboðʊvʊs]> [ˈbovʊs](and there has been a recent trend toward monosyllabic [bofs]); both of our > [ˈboθar]> [bar]; both of ours > [ˈboθərz]bothers > [borz] bors, and then finally, under spelling analogy and a not wholly uncorrect folk etymology [bawrs] bours.
During these changes, for well known political reasons, ya'll began to fall out of use, and disappeared from the standard dialect about the time the dual had established its place. The older you forms replaced the disused ya'll, and the already unforgivably general you forms spread to the dual also. This left a hole in the dual system for third person pronouns, which was soon filled with forms of similar derivation as the first person duals: both > [bos]; both (of) them >
[boθɛm]> [bom]; both their(s) > [boθɛr(z)]> [bɛr(z)].
While the ya'll t'forms were still extant, they left beir legacy in the third person plural forms. To distinguish singular from plural, and by analogy with ya'll there came they all, them all, etc., which are easily seen to contract to the present forms.
Once the dual had insinuated itself into the SC speaking mind, it began to spread. It has only recently become acceptable in standard SC to use dual forms of nouns: the well known t'
[tə]prefix. It has recently begun to infest the verbal system in the eastern SC dialects, in a most horrendous ways, causing vowel stem changes. In the western SC dialects, there is a marked tendency toward total loss of verbal inflection. The standard dialect, between boam, is indeed in trouble. Eedu have devised a Linguophysical device to protect bar language: the For A Day Cage, which will nullify all external linguistic influence, and eedu pray, save bar standard dialect from corruption.
E. Loi and Michael Morlock
Rice and Wheat College, Houtex
Jay Trones, Futurological Linguistics Association