Can anyone please clear my doubts.

If i'd like to ask a friend how many years he has been living in a country, can i say, " How

many years it has been since you live in Sweden?" OR " How many years you have been

living in Sweden?," OR "How many years you have lived in Sweden already?,".

In my own way of saying in an informal conversation, i'd say "How many

years already you have been living in Sweden?" I'm not sure if it sounds natural to native


Another question, if i say " I don't know we would be such a good friend

at/in/from beginning?" Which one is a more appropriate preposition to use in this context.

Many thanks.
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Comments  (Page 4) 
I'm not a man!
I've got your age, Clive!

"George - don't do that!"
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What does "gals" correspond in French? I feel certain that the blokes/chaps/lads here wouldn't want to be referred to with that(I certainly wouldn't)!!
I'm interested in this subject because I was also so surprised when, about a year ago, an American woman (who was a Japanese learner) taught me that in US "guys" is used to address fellow people of both genders.

I believe you know well the etymology of "guy", but let me cite what dictionaries say about it. The word "guy" originally came after Guy (Guido) Fawks, who was accused in 1605 as an anarchist for trying blow-up of Parliament (so called Gunpowder Plot) and prosecuted by King James I. November 5 is celebrated every year in Britain as the Guy Fawkes day though this tradition is now deemed to have its origin in celebrating Celtic New Year season in early November (just like Halloween). On this day folks crack fireworks and kids parade with effigies of Guy Fawks dressed in a grotesque manner.

So, "guy" was "a man of grotesque appearance" in the original sense, which, I suppose, is still its principal sense in BrE. According to OED, up to early 19th century, "guy" was used in this negative sense even in AmE; (EX) "I cannot tonight, for I am going to be seduced by a rich old guy" (1847). However, the word rather rapidly developed to be used in a positive sense; "The little boys look great guys" (1876). It is a mystery to me why "guy" got this kind positive sense, though the American woman I previously mentioned gave me a suggestion that a Yddish word "goy"(gentile) might have some effect on this. But she told me she herself didn't know when Americans began to use "guy" for both genders, thought she herself used quite naturally "you guys" to address her female mates.

To paco,

I believe you are Japanese( if I am wrong, please forgive me for my mistake.) To my knowledge, "san" in Japanese means"mister(Mr.)" e.g. Toshiba San = Mr. Toshiba.

"mama" is obviously female but why are some mamas called "mama-sans(= Mr. Mama)"?
I guess "mama-sans" would have no objections to being called GUYS!!
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Hi temico,

I only had two years of Japanese, so Paco-san may want to help us on this one. From what I remember, san applies to both gender. I remember my teacher calling me lai-san.

But then, maybe Paco-san can clarify.

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Hello Temico sama and Julielai sama

Yes, I'm a Japanese to the extent of 100 %. I'm glad to know you are familiar to some Japanese words. We use "X san" to address both Mr X and Ms X. The original form of "san" is "sama". We put this word to the name any person we can respect. Kami sama (Mr God), Hotoke sama (Mr Buddha), Tenshi sama (Mr Emperor), O-Hime sama (Ms Princess), Danna sama (Mr my husband), O-Jo sama (Dear your daughter), O-Ko sama (Dear your child), so on. The principal sense of "sama" is "state of a person or a thing", and as an addressing word, it was first applied to a person holding a noble status/title. "Shogun sama" (Mr Shogun), "Tono sama" (Mr War Lord), and its use gradually extended to address any people of either gender.

Thank you so very much, Paco sama!

Thanks for the question, Temico sama!Emotion: big smile
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I have no proof of this one way or the other, but I think it's very unlikely that the evolution of "guy" was affected by "goy" -- even though in certain New York accents, they would be pronounced in a similar way. For one thing, the appropriate plural of "goy" is not "goys," but "goyim." Also, I think the usage of "guy" in the United States probably preceded any Yiddish influence, and is certainly more widespread. I think it just originated with Guy Fawkes and, once it crossed over to America, lost the special meaning of "grotesque or oddly dressed."
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