ਸੈਸ਼ਨ 9

People often say ‘you’ when describing their own experiences. Today we examine one psychologist’s theory about why this happens.
ደቂ ሰባት ተመኩሮኦም ክገልጹ እንከው፤ መብዛሕኡ ግዜ ‘you’ይጥቀሙ። ንሎሚ እዚ ስለምንታይ ከም ዘጋጥመ፡ ብሓደ ናይ ስነ-ኣእምሮ ክኢላ ዝቀረበ ክልሰ-ሓሳብ ክንርኢ ኢና።

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    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1

ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1

Why do we say 'you' to describe personal experiences?

ወልቃዊ ተመኩሮና ክንገልጽ እንከለና ስለምንታይ ‘you’ ንጥቀም?

People often say ‘you’ when describing their own experiences. Today we examine one psychologist’s theory about why this happens.
ደቂ ሰባት ተመኩሮኦም ክገልጹ እንከው፤ መብዛሕኡ ግዜ ‘you’ይጥቀሙ። ንሎሚ እዚ ስለምንታይ ከም ዘጋጥመ፡ ብሓደ ናይ ስነ-ኣእምሮ ክኢላ ዝቀረበ ክልሰ-ሓሳብ ክንርኢ ኢና።

Before you listen

Consider the following question:

  • Is ‘you’ a word which applies to just one person, or can it apply to more people?
  •  How do we express our ideas about things which are normal?

Listen to the audio and take the quiz.

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ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
ሰላም፡ እንቋዕ ናብዚ ብእንግዝኛ ዝቐርብ ሓቀኛ ዛንታት ሰሚዕኩም ንክትርድኡ ዝሕግዘኩም መደብ Listen Here ብደሓን  መጻእኩም። ኣነ ተክለማርያም በኪት ኢየ።

Sam
Hi, I’m Sam

Tom

And I’m Tom. Hi everybody.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
Oh! What’s wrong, Tom?

Tom
I’m sad. My dog died recently. You have a best friend when you have a dog.

Sam
What? I don’t have a dog.

Tom
I wasn’t talking about you, Sam!

Sam
You were! You said “you have a best friend when you have a dog”. And you were talking to me.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
ኣብዚ ዝርርብ፡ ቶም ናቱ ውልቃዊ ተሞክሮ ኢዩ ዝገልጽ ዘሎ። ግን ኣብ ክንዲ ‘I’ ክንድ ስም ዝጥቀም፡ ‘you’ ይጥቀም ኣሎ።

Tom
Hmm, good question! We often use ‘you’ when we’re speaking in general.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
Speaking generally, ወይ speaking in general ማት ብሓፈሻ ምዝራብ ማለት ኢዩ። General ብሓፈሻ ማለት ኢዩ። እቲ ቅጽል generic you ኢዩ። ናይ ሎሚ መደብና ካብ BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind ዝተወስደድምጺንስማዕ።ኣመሪካዊፕሮፈሰርስነ-ኣእምሮብዛዕባgeneric you, ብመልከዕቶምዝጥቀመሉዝጸንሓyou ይገልጽ። ናይ ቶም ኣጠቃቅማ you ንኽትገልጽ፡ እንታይ ዓይነት ሓሳብ ሂባ።

Insert
So we were studying this generic 'you', so 'you' that refers to people in general rather than a specific person. And see whether people use generic you to essentially try to construct norms, uh, or normalise their own deeply personal experiences.

Sam
Ah! So, Tom is trying to normalise his experience!

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
Normalise ናብ ንቡር ምምላስ ማለት ኢዩ። Do you think it’s normal to feel so close to a pet, Tom?

Tom
Yeah! Of course.

Sam
So you’re using “you” to make your statement seem normal or general.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
ካልእ ቃል ናይ make. Construct ኢዩ። ደጊምኩም ስምዑ። ድሕሪ construct ኣየናይ ቃል ይስዕብ።

Insert

So we were studying this generic 'you', so 'you' that refers to people in general rather than a specific person. And see whether people use generic 'you' to essentially try to construct norms.

Sam
She said to construct norms.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
A norm ስም ኮይኑ ልሙድ ዝኾነ ነገር ማለት ኢዩ። ኒተ ካልኣይ ካፍል ናይቲ ድምጺ ንስማዕ። ብዝገለጸቶ መሰረት፡ እተን ክልተ ሳዕበናት ምጥቃም ሓፈሻዊ ‘you’ እንታይ ኢዮም።

Insert
And we found that using generic 'you' helped people to feel that the event was more distant in time and people reported that they were able to think about the event differently than they had before and had higher feelings of closure afterwards. 

Sam
Interesting! She suggests that using generic 'you' can help you think about past events differently! By not using ‘I’, she suggests things can feel further away.

Tom
Hmm. If I say ‘I have a best friend when I have a dog’, it does sound very personal!

Sam
Also, by avoiding ‘I’, and using ‘you’, we suggest that this experience is one that many people share. That’s also why we use the present tense – to suggest it’s always true.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
Generic 'you' እንታይ ዓይነት ስምዒት ከሕድረልና ይኽእል ኢዩ ይብል። ድሕሪ ‘feeling of’ ዘሎ ደጊምኩም ስምዕዎ።   

Insert
And we found that using generic 'you' helped people to feel that the event was more distant in time and people reported that they were able to think about the event differently than they had before and had higher feelings of closure afterwards.

Tom
She said closure.

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
Closure መደምደምታ ማለት ኢዩ። Do you think generic 'you' helps to provide closure, Tom?

Tom
Actually, yes! Using generic 'you' helps to add distance between me and this painful memory.

Sam
Ah! Here, Tom said ‘to add’. Because ‘add’ starts with a vowel sound, we have a /w/ sound which links the two words. Say it with me!

add
to add
helps to add distance

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
ግዜና ይኣክል ኣሎ።

Sam
See? Time goes quickly when you’re having fun!

Tom
Nice use of generic 'you' Sam.

Sam
Thanks very much Tom!

ኣቕራቢቋንቋትግርኛ
ኣብ ዝቕጽ መደብ Listen Here ብሰላም የራኸበና። ቻው።

Listen to today’s clip in full here

Source: All in the Mind

Language features

generic 'you'
This is a form of ‘you’ we use when we want to comment on people in general. It is similar in form to the pronoun ‘one’. Use of ‘you’ in this way implies that we are speaking based on our own experiences. If we are making generalisations, we often use the present simple tense, which suggests that something is always true.

I’m sad because my dog died. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone!

We can also use the possessive form, your, to the same effect.

Your dog is like your best friend. It’s sad when they die.


norm
A norm is an abstract noun which means ‘something that is standard’. It relates to the adjective, normal.

The legal norm in this situation is for the buyer to pay the seller as quickly as possible.

We can also use ‘the norm’. This means ‘the normal thing in a context’.

We didn’t use smartphones in the past but in recent years they’ve become the norm.

When we want to say that something is actively being made normal we can use the verb ‘normalise’.

There are allegations that the politician is trying to normalise political violence in his speeches.


closure
Closure is a feeling of relief or resolution. We often use closure to stress the long duration of the experience which came before.

The funeral was horrible to organise but I did feel a sense of closure when it was all finished.

Why do we say ‘you’ to describe personal experiences?

3 Questions

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ቕኑዕ መልሲ ምረጹ።

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ኣብ ዝቕጽል መደብ Listen Here ኣገደስቲ ናይ ኢንግሊዝኛ ዝርርብን ናይ ምስማዕ ክእለትኩም እተመሐይሹሉ መደብ ሒዝናልኩም ክንቀርብ ኢና’ሞ ብሰላም የራኽበና።

Session Vocabulary

  • in general
    ብሓፈሻ

    generally
    ሓፈሻዊ

    generic
    ሓፈሻዊ (ዘርኣዊ)

    construct
    ምህናጽ/ስርሓ