FR: "tu" en s'adressant à plusieurs personnes

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calembourde

Senior Member
New Zealand, English
Hello,

As you all know, 'vous' is the plural of 'tu' but it is also used for a single person as a sign of respect. Ever since I found out about this distinction, I wondered if you could get even more familiar than 'tu', and tutoyer a group of people, as a sign of really great familiarity (or great disrespect :eek:). I never really thought it would be likely, but recently I heard a DJ at a festival say 'tu' several times. As far as I know there was no single person in the audience or on stage that he was talking to, he seemed to be addressing everyone. But at other times he used 'vous'.

So... is it possible, in an extremely informal situation, to say 'tu' to a group of people?
 
  • tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    No, it wouldnt' make sense saying tu to a group.
    I think the DJ you mentioned said tu to make each one in the audience feeling as if the message was especially said for themselves.
     

    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    I would say like Titl.
    But let's note that the comedian Frank Dubosc keeps on using the expression "pour toi, public" :D, but it has a comical effect, precisely because at first, it's quite "shocking", I mean, we've (at least I) never heard that before.

    Anyway, even with friends, I would never say "tu" to address several of them :) (& I wonder if you could physically do it, that would sound far too strange!) I think they would all be puzzled & think: "But who is she talking to?!!" (she should stop drinking too much tea, not good for her mental health!! :eek: :p)
     

    calembourde

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Merci à toi deux. ;) Now I think about it, I think that Les Fatals Picards do the same thing in their song 'Public', though I'm not sure because I haven't listened to it enough times to decipher all the lyrics.

    I think I'll go have some tea. :D
     

    Nanon

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    But let's note that the comedian Frank Dubosc keeps on using the expression "pour toi, public" :D, but it has a comical effect, precisely because at first, it's quite "shocking", I mean, we've (at least I) never heard that before.
    It reminds me of Pierre Desproges saying "mon public chéri, mon amour" and then blowing a kiss to the audience...
    Some more tea?
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Cet usage de "tu" pour un groupe bien défini ne date pas de hier, ni en français ni en anglais (sauf qu'en anglais les formes du singulier ont disparu de la langue -- sauf, parmi certains, pour parler à Dieu -- et avec elles, la possibilité de souligner par l'emploi des pronoms qu'on parle du groupe entier et non pas des individus):

    L'Exode 33:5:
    For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. (KJV, 1611)

    Alors Yahvé dit à Moïse : « Dis aux Israélites : Vous êtes un peuple à la nuque raide, si je montais au milieu de toi, ne fût-ce qu'un moment, je t'exterminerais. Et maintenant, dépouille-toi de tes parures, que je sache comment te traiter. » (Bible de Jérusalem)

    Mais aussi:
    Car l'Eternel avait dit à Moïse : dis aux enfants d'Israël : vous êtes un peuple de col roide; je monterai en un moment au milieu de toi, et je te consumerai. Maintenant donc ôte tes ornements de dessus toi, et je saurai ce que je te ferai. (Traduction Martin, 1744)
     

    itka

    Senior Member
    français
    et avec elles, la possibilité de souligner par l'emploi des pronoms qu'on parle du groupe entier et non pas des individus)
    En français, je ne crois pas qu'on puisse dire que cela se voit par l'emploi des pronoms... C'est plutôt l'usage d'un nom collectif qui produit cet effet, les pronoms ne font que reprendre cette indication : les mots public, peuple, France, Jeunesse, par exemple, étant des mots singuliers, tout naturellement, le pronom qui les remplace est au singulier aussi.

    "Ils n'en finissent pas tes artistes prophètes
    De dire qu'il est temps que le malheur succombe
    Ma France"
    Ma France (Jean Ferrat)

    Jeunesse, ne te sens-tu pas capable de penser par toi-même ? Tout d’abord, tu devrais te cultiver un peu plus en t’intéressant à des faits historiques. ...
    Lettres ouvertes à la jeunesse de mon pays

    Dès qu'on emploie un nom pluriel, le pronom est aussi au pluriel :
    "mes amis", "mes Frères", etc...

    Le tutoiement d'un groupe de personnes est toujours très solennel (mais, par dérision, cet emploi peut parfois être comique) et il s'agit toujours d'un groupe très important de personnes.
     

    HistofEng

    Senior Member
    USA Eng, Haitian-Creole
    et avec elles, la possibilité de souligner par l'emploi des pronoms qu'on parle du groupe entier et non pas des individus):
    Pas complètement, je dirais. Si on se trouve dans une situation informelle, je crois que l'on peut bien dire "you guys" pour souligner qu'on est en train de parler au groupe et pas une personne. Je crois aussi qu'il y à beaucoup beaucoup de gens qui font cette distinction tout le temps dans leurs vies quotidiennes (moi y compris). Je pense à la situation d'un membre d'une famille qui essaye d'expédier les autres membres de sa famille, en laissant la maison. On dirait "You guys are ready, right?" et probablement jamais "you're ready, right?"

    Qu'en pensent les 'natives'?

    (corrigez mon français)
     

    calembourde

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I don't know whether 'you guys' counts as a pronoun. However, some dialects have 'youse' for the plural (even though 'you' used to be the plural anyway.) Others have 'y'all' though I'm not sure whether that counts as one word or two.
     

    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    I would like to agree with Itka, about the solemnity implied by saying tu to a group, and thus exactly the contrary of what Calembourde asked originally (is it possible, in an extremely informal situation, to say 'tu' to a group of people?) None of the examples given in this thread match with the will of being over familiar with the individuals inside this group, even with Dubosc's one. Beyond the possible comic effect, these tu's are making people forgetting their individuality and feeling like a part of a whole.The speech is not aimed to each person, but to the group itself. I'd say it sets a distance rather than a proximity.
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I don't know whether 'you guys' counts as a pronoun. However, some dialects have 'youse' for the plural (even though 'you' used to be the plural anyway.) Others have 'y'all' though I'm not sure whether that counts as one word or two.
    You are quite correct that both "you guys" (even when women are part of the group), y'all, all of you, and, although it is still considered substandard by many, "you'se" (youz) are all commonly used when speaking to a group, and "all of you" and "you all" (y'all) are used even for large groups, like the audience at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

    I think it is also quite common (in my version of English much more common, but that is a limited version ;)) to say:
    "Is everybody ready?" "Is everyone ready?"
    and the jazz band leader Ted Lewis (http://www.redhotjazz.com/tedlewis.html)
    always said to the audience from the stage: "Is Everybody Happy?" and some people still say it.

    But, of course, after identifying the group, no one then goes on to use these expressions each time they want to say: "you" or "your". And, unlike the translators of the King James Version of the Bible (or Shakespeare), after having identified the group, no one would think of using "thou" "thee" "thy, thine". They are dead. Most people don't even know which form is the subject pronoun and which the object pronoun, let alone the 2nd person singular verb forms that go with them.

    The difference can be seen clearly in this version of Exodus 33:5 from the Revised American Standard Version of the Bible:

    For the LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the sons of Israel, `You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.' "

    This is what I meant when I wrote that it is no longer possible to emphasize through the pronouns that it is the entire group, as a group and not as the individual members, that is being addressed. In this particular passage, the idea of the shared responsibility of the entire people for the fate of all members is blurred. "I would destroy you" is not so clearly: "all of you" (the entire people: thee; toi).

    I do think that in informal speech, a parent, teacher, or police officer on the street addressing a group would say, at the end: "I don't know what I'm going to do with the lot of you (US: the whole bunch of you)(or: all of you), to indicate that, if there is going to be punishment, it is going to be collective punishment for "mob" action ("you're all in this together!""we're all in the same boat"). And having come to a decision, he would probably say: "I'm going to lock you all up! So prepare yourselves!" (a pronoun where the distinction between singular and plural can still be made: and the singular would not be chosen in this case. ;))
     

    Musical Chairs

    Senior Member
    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    Why is it that in signs or directions, sometimes they use the "tu" form and not the "vous" form?

    For example, in the Paris metros it says "ne mets pas tes mains" between the doors or something.
     

    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    Why is it that in signs or directions, sometimes they use the "tu" form and not the "vous" form?

    For example, in the Paris metros it says "ne mets pas tes mains" between the doors or something.
    The little rabbit is teaching children how to behave to avoid to have their hands pintch by the automatic doors. « Tu » is used for talking to children in that case. ;)

    Edit: t'avais pas vue Subtitling girl, mais on est d'accord.
     

    crossreference

    Member
    USA English
    Inexplicably, for some English speakers in the South, "y'all" (you all) is used when referring to an individual, e.g.,
    "Did y'all get the letter I sent?"
    I don't know that this has an equivalent in translation?
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Having lived in Pittsburgh PA I can tell you people there say “yinz”, e.g., “See yinz later.” But I'm pretty sure this is for a group, not an individual.
     

    Chike

    Member
    Canada, English
    "y'all" is *always* plural. The sentence you quote, crossreference, would not make sense if it was about a person who lives alone (although if the receiver of the letter does not live alone, then even if the letter was meant only for that person, it wouldn't be weird - the household received the letter).
     

    Bléros

    Senior Member
    Jax
    USA, English
    I think in the Bible, they're using 'thee', because 'a people' is singular. This occurs in Latin too, because 'populus' is singular, and the corresponding second person pronoun would be 'tū'.
     

    crossreference

    Member
    USA English
    Chike -
    Y'all is not always plural and is used in the rural South, often when speaking to an individual. E.g., "Where did y'all get that shirt... Wallmart?"
    I realize this is dialect, and somewhat counter-intuitive to outsiders, but trust me, is alive and well here in Kentucky !
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Chike -
    Y'all is not always plural and is used in the rural South, often when speaking to an individual. E.g., "Where did y'all get that shirt... Wallmart?"
    I realize this is dialect, and somewhat counter-intuitive to outsiders, but trust me, is alive and well here in Kentucky !
    Sure… But it being used doesn't mean it's correct, does it? :)
     

    calembourde

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Chike -
    Y'all is not always plural and is used in the rural South, often when speaking to an individual. E.g., "Where did y'all get that shirt... Wallmart?"
    I realize this is dialect, and somewhat counter-intuitive to outsiders, but trust me, is alive and well here in Kentucky !
    If you're from there, then I won't take any dictionary as having more authority about how it is used. But Maître Capello's comment about it not being correct made me check in a dictionary to find out whether it considered "y'all" to ever be strictly correct, and I noticed this:

    Southerners do not, as is sometimes believed, use you-all or y'all for both singular and plural you. A single person may only be addressed as you-all if the speaker implies in the reference other persons not present: Did you-all [you and others] have dinner yet?
     

    Chike

    Member
    Canada, English
    The explanation calembourde found expresses my own intuitions and I feel confident I'm right *at least* about "y'all" as it is used in AAE (African American English) but if crossreference or anyone else here finds *themselves* often using it contrary to this rule without other people ever looking at them weird, then I guess perhaps it could be different for white Southern dialects....
     

    crossreference

    Member
    USA English
    Maître C.,
    If "correct" was a criteria for expression here, they'd probably have to shut down the whole state.
    (J'exagère.)
    Malgré les incorrections incessantes plus ou moins partout, on arrive quand même à se comprendre... pour la plupart. Pour les "étrangers", c'est sans doute un cauchemar !
     
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