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There is a phrase said by Alex the lion in the Madagascar 3 cartoon movie when he looks at the miniatures of himself and other animals:

Look, there is a little me and little all of uses!

Is this phrase grammatically correct?

UPDATE: The emphasis is on "uses".

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Are you sure that it was only one sentence? Perhaps it might be And little all of us's!. (Your question also makes me wonder how to explain if a sentence such as Look, birds! is grammatically correct. :-) –  Damkerng T. Feb 22 at 23:00
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@Damkerng T.: A lot of people would put a period, exclamation mark, or hyphen after Look in such contexts. Personally I think they're all fine. I also think that it's pointless trying to shoehorn every utterance into "sentences" and asking whether any individual component is "grammatical" in isolation. You have to take account of the whole context - including stuff "external" to the utterance (the "real world") and any text before and after whatever you're "dissecting". –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 at 1:13
    
@FumbleFingers Thank you for good advice! I'll keep that in mind. –  Damkerng T. Feb 23 at 2:27
    
@Damkerng: When I first read your comment, I dismissed the "us's" interpretation as simply not credible, but now I've thought about it, I realise I'll have to extend my answer. Superficially this looks like a "silly, childish" question, but increasingly I feel that learners may gain good insights into "correct, adult" usages by seeing the kind of "errors" young native speakers make. Those young natives have often inferred what "should" be a valid construction according to the gist of the rules; they just haven't yet learned all the peculiarities whereby some usages aren't acceptable. –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 at 2:42

1 Answer 1

Structurally/semantically, it's a bit "quirky", and the final word is definitely somewhat "iffy", but (and I can't be sure without seeing/hearing it) I imagine Alex is saying...

"There's a little me and little all of youses!"

What he means is...

"I see a little version of me, and little versions of all of you!"

Strictly speaking, "youses" isn't a valid form in the first place - but although it might seem almost incomprehensible to a learner, it's instantly accessible to young native speakers. Particularly when they've been "primed" by a little me, and they're probably watching something that makes it blindingly obvious Alex is seeing small versions of himself and everyone he's speaking to.

Note that what Alex has done is take the entire phrase all of you (mangled into youses to emphasise that each one is to be considered separately) and modify it with little. Grammatically (for adults, and learners who want to speak English above the level of very young children) this is completely unacceptable. But since it is valid with a single (pro)noun such as me, you, John, etc., Alex just does it anyway.


It's also worth noting @Damkerng's comment that perhaps Alex said And little all of us's! - particularly if we parse that as a separate sentence. We can then see it as an utterance that replaces, or goes beyond what was previously said. In which case it's not impossible to interpret it as a fairly radical revision...

"I see a little version of me! No, wait! I see little versions of all of us!"

The logic whereby you is (ungrammatically) transposed into youses can just as easily turn us into uses (pronounced us + -iz, not the orthographically identical uses = utilises, that adults use all the time).


TL;DR: It's really just an example of "baby-speak". Don't copy it. But here's an example that's fine...

The top of the cake sported a little me and a little Steve. (bride & groom models on a wedding cake)

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This is the classic case where you need to have heard the phrase being uttered rather than rely on someone's understanding and spelling capabilities. The OP's sample just threw me off until I read your solution. –  Mari-Lou A Feb 23 at 12:16
    
@Mari-Lou: Taking my final example, one can imagine there might be figurines on the cake representing a couple of bridesmaids as well. If the new bride was talking to those bridesmaids, she might started by saying "Look! There's a little me, a little Steve, and little [???]". Before reaching [???] she vaguely has in mind something like each of you - which logically makes sense, but which English doesn't really have an "elegant" way of expressing with any construction conforming to the pattern used for the first two. –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 at 13:01
    
... because there would then be two "sub-elements" represented by each of you, one wants to "pluralise" it by tacking an "s" on the end. Sounds logical, but we just can't do it. –  FumbleFingers Feb 23 at 13:07
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Actually I've watched the movie.... what Alex said was: "There is a little me... AND little all of us(es) /'ʌsɪz/!". He pluralised what is already a pronoun plural ('us') for emphasis. –  deutschZuid Feb 25 at 20:50
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@deutschZuid: Ah, right! I won't alter the text of my answer - because as I pointed out, the same "logical, but actually not grammatical" principle applies equally regardless of whether the element being "pluralised" is all of you or all of us. The only difference is that in the second version (the real one, apparently), we have to also accept that Alex is either "correcting/expanding on" his first statement (not just me, but actually *all of us), or transparently glossing over the fact that he's already specifically mentioned one of "us" (himself), so he is "double-counted". –  FumbleFingers Feb 25 at 21:14

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