The Two Yutes…I Mean The Two You’s

Here is a link to the clip from My Cousin Vinny. It never gets old:


Vinnie Gambini:  It is possible that the two yutes… 
Judge Haller:    Ah, the two what? Uh… uh, what was that word? 
Vinnie Gambini:  Uh… what word? 
Judge Haller:    Two what?
Vinnie Gambini:  What?
Judge Haller:    Uh… did you say ‘yutes’?
Vinnie Gambini:  Yeah, two yutes. 
Judge Haller:    What is a yute? 
Vinnie Gambini:  Oh, excuse me, your honor… Two YOUTHS


Seriously though, English speakers are lucky. They only have to worry about one version of the word “you”. French has two, “Tu” and “Vous”. Traditionally, the Swiss  have very specific ideas about when each is appropriate. For a foreigner and non-native speaker, meeting someone new can induce mild panic as you frantically try to determine which form to use. 


When we were preparing to move here, we heard a story from an American who lives in Switzerland. After 10 years at the same job, his boss invited him to his house for the first time. When he arrived, his boss brought out a bottle of champagne and said that they now knew each other well enough to use first names and the more informal version of you!

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