This study explores the sociolinguistics of mediated discourse and the use of “staged orality” in such genres. It involves a corpus-driven approximation of you guys as an emerging quasi pronoun for second-person plural address based on dialogue transcriptions of the sitcom Friends. With its 10-year time span and close interactions between its six young New Yorkers, the Friends corpus is a good locus to monitor linguistic variation and change. An overall analysis reveals that you guys is much more frequent here than in other genres and shows a modest increase over time. Syntactically, you guys is found to increase in more involved constructions. In terms of gender, you guys is shown to be equally distributed between men and women—both with regard to the speakers' identity and to the semantic referent. In sum, these findings shed light both on you guys as a candidate for second-person plural address and on the specific discursive conditions of the staged orality found in genres such as television sitcoms.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.