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What's the suitable translation of "you guys" or "you lot"? For example,

"Are you lot coming over on Friday?" e.g. informal, you and your friends/family

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7 Answers 7

When referring to "you and your friends/family" exclusively (e.g. you ask one person if they and their friends family are coming over tonight), you'll often just use "ihr" if everybody knows who is addressed.

For example, when I ask my sister:

Kommt ihr Sonntag auch?

Then it is implicitly clear that she, her husband and her children are addressed. This may actually be easier in German than in English, since du and ihr are not the same (as you/you). dict.cc, by the way, lists "ihr" as the single translation for "you lot", indicating that the expression is especially used to differentiate from "just you", i.e. a single person.

This can always be used when it is clear who is addressed. When you're referring to a certain group of friends and talking to one of them, "ihr" may be just right.

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4  
I agree. I'd even say that the construction of "you lot/guys" is only a "workaround" to make up for the lost distinction of "thou/you". –  Jules Oct 3 '11 at 10:07

If it's only for the informal expression "you lot" then a widely used translation would be almost literal:

"Schaut ihr alle am Freitag vorbei?"

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Upvoted, though I think "alle" is too much in most cases (not necessarily, of course), and dict.cc lists just "ihr". –  OregonGhost Sep 5 '11 at 8:48

What you'd usually say is

Kommt ihr am Freitag rüber?

IMO, English only uses phrases like "you guys" or "you lot" because there's no other way to distinguish singular and plural in the second person; both forms are identical ("you").

German doesn't need the extension "guys" or "lot" to achieve the same effect: make clear you are talking to and about a group of people rather than a single person.

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"Jungs", "Mädels", "Leute", depending on the context and gender.

EDIT: Need to point out, I'm talking about non-formal, but generally polite language. Other forms are certainly possible, again depending on the context and in most cases the general language level people are speaking: "Kommt Ihr heut' rüber, Ihr Schweine?" is somewhat rude, but might be acceptable in some groups.

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I wouldn't necessarily single out "Schweine" here, since that could be substituted by "Penner", "Säcke" or any other otherwise offensive term that people may refer to each other within circles of close friends. –  Jan Sep 4 '11 at 19:13
    
@Jan: true, that was just one example, thanks for filling in. –  Nikolai Prokoschenko Sep 5 '11 at 7:41
    
Note that while "Mädels" seems to depend on gender, it is colloquially actually often used when addressing a group of men (at least if the speaker is also a man and part of that group). Not sure though if I would use it in the sense of "you and your friends/family", which is an open group, but rather when referring to a closed group. –  OregonGhost Sep 5 '11 at 8:39

You lot, you guys and you all/y'all are all primarily workarounds that English speakers employ because sometimes they want to make it clear they are addressing several people. This workaround was not necessary and therefore not used when English still distinguished between second person singular (thou) and plural (ye/you). But then people started to address single people in the plural as a sign of politeness, and through excessive politeness, thou died out completely and left you as the only second person pronoun, regardless of number.

Something very similar happened in Dutch, only faster. Dutch once used a cognate of thou for the singular and a cognate of ye/you for the plural. Once jij/gij, the cognate of you had become the standard even for the singular (by the same mechanism as in English), people felt the need to say things such as gij allen (you all) or gij lieden (you people). As a result, Dutch developed its modern second person plural pronoun, which is an abbreviated form of jij lieden (you people): jullie.

In increasingly large parts of the US we can currently observe the same thing happening with you all and its abbreviation y'all. When I first started taking a Spanish course on Duolingo, for example, it kept marking my English translations wrong if I used plain you as a plural pronoun - it insisted on you all! (I think this has been fixed now.)

I think before this background it's clear what the answer to your question will be: The best German translation for you people / you guys / you all / y'all is almost always a plain and simple ihr. This is because German has not gone through the same process as English and Dutch. (I think this is because third-person forms of address similar to your honour or your grace, but using the plural, became the standard polite form of address before this could happen, resulting in today's polite Sie for singular and plural. It doesn't feel natural to extend this to children or best friends, and in fact the use of Sie is currently declining.)

It is of course possible to say things such as ihr Leute or ihr Typen. But because it is never used as a workaround (since none is needed), it's only ever used for metric reasons or to express a special meaning. (Unless it's a poor translation from English, of course.) The choice of noun is crucial. For instance, ihr Typen would normally only be said by a woman to a number of men with whom she is on very informal terms, in part to stress that there is no woman among them. A generalisation as in American English is out of the question.

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First person plural pronoun? Second person plural pronoun? –  O. R. Mapper Aug 14 at 15:39
    
Other than that, the only thing possibly missing from this answer is that German did use the second person plural for politely address single persons in the past, but that form of address was superseded by "Sie" and now addressing single people with "ihr" sounds decidedly "medieval" (and is, as a matter of fact, commonly used to signal a historical context now, e.g. in theatre plays or films). –  O. R. Mapper Aug 14 at 15:42
    
@O.R.Mapper: Thanks for the correction, it's fixed now. Actually, Ihr is coming back. E.g., if you are wearing a suit and have to address someone in an organic food shop where you have never been before, du and Sie somehow feel both wrong. A workaround that sometimes works is pretending that you are really addressing everyone working there at once, and to use ihr for that. For some reason that feels like a compromise as far as formality is concerned. –  Hans Adler Aug 14 at 16:58
    
I wouldn't call that a return of singular ihr. After all, "ihr" is still (as usual) used as a plural address, as a less formal plural form to a singular "Sie" - which seems to be the way "Sie" has been used for decades in Switzerland. (With that said, personally, I see nothing wrong with using "Sie" in that situation.) –  O. R. Mapper Aug 14 at 17:12
    
I would also like to contest the dying out of Sie all across the German-speaking area. I feel it is a lot more prevalent and a lot less dying out in the South (specifically Bavaria) than in the North. –  Jan 2 days ago

FYI "you lot" is British English and "you guys" is American English. "You lot" is less respectful than "you guys" since by being singular it deprives those addressed of their individuality, so a single perfect translation of both will not be possible in my opinion.

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Not a literal translation, but I would use something like "ihr alle". The way I understand "you guys" means that "guys" is used to address all members of the group, so I chose "alle" in German.

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