This article investigates the sociolinguistic processes in singular you was and you were variation in eighteenth-century correspondence. The focus is on the sociolinguistic mechanisms in operation when one variant was established as a standard, high-prestige variant, and the other as a non-standard form. The data are drawn from the Corpus of Early English Correspondence Extension and complemented with evidence from A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers. The results show that you was peaks before the mid-eighteenth century and gradually becomes a socially stigmatized linguistic marker, as evinced in normative comments in grammars. Men lead the change: the form peaks earlier among men than women who resort to using the were variant longer than men.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 22 january 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.