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Thou/You; was: Methods of Question-Forming

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Monday, April 14, 2003, 0:48
I only logged on again yesterday, so I don't know if this has been answered
(probably has).  But I always thought that thee and thou became outdated and
"quaint" sounding when the pugnacious and fearless leader of the Quakers,
George Fox, around 1650,  insisted that the distinction between thou/you
when used to indicate class standing was "elitest," and that everybody
should address each other with the familiar "thou," saving the use of "you"
only for the plural.  He lays this out in his "Battle-Door for Teachers and
Professors."  This issue was the subject of a number of discussions, and
grammarian John Wallis declared quite the opposite in 1653: the use of
"thou" showed contempt, and that "you" should be used for all persons,
singular and plural.  I think by the eighteenth century this issue was
resolved by the prescriptive grammarians.  Now we think of "thou" as being
"formal," only because we associate it with the King James Bible and the use
of this pronoun for speaking with God--which was an intimate form of
address.  Not formal at all.

Sally Caves
Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."

----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert B Wilson" <han_solo55@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 5:54 PM
Subject: Re: Methods of Question-Forming

> On Sat, 12 Apr 2003 11:53:03 -0400 Jake X <starvingpoet@...> writes: > > OK, I give in. But I'm curious now. When did thou and you switch > > places > > in formality? Logically, thou should be the more intimate one. > > it still is for anyone who is unlucky enough to misuse 'thou' when > talking to me ;))) > > > Jake > > -- > Robert Wilson (aka kuvazokad, eltirno, edeí...) > > vkky vnkynvj vknyknj ykkv knvy? karkalone kontoko? kinsi rorotan kinsa > nadas? baitta ke farzaiyai? qxracc pqqattiircx iia kxqqhwiiallccre? > spreken þu viserdya? pake biru ka pa rede? >