Monday, 2 July 2018

2nd July 2018 - Of thee and Thou

Thought for the day:"Arguing with some people is like reading the Software Agreement License. In the end you ignore everything and then click “I Agree” "

and so a grammar lesson

thou - singular informal, subject (Thou art here. = You are here.)
thee - singular informal, object (He gave it to thee.)
ye - plural or formal, subject
you - plural or formal, object

Interestingly, when the first English translations of the Bible were being made, the informal thee and thou were used specifically in reference to God to indicate an approachable, familiar God, but as the language changed this paradoxically brought thee and thou to sound more formal to the modern English speaker.

'Thou' is historically perceived in Yorkshire (England) as being disrespectful, or over-familiar in a formal context, eg; if used to address a teacher, or upon greeting a stranger... However, 'thee' is perceived to be more respectful, as with the French usage of the words 'vous' and 'tu', of which 'tu' is regarded as offensive if used in appropriately (another conversation altogether). Barnsley folk are especially well know for having the bad habit of using 'thou', including one instance I've heard of with a French teacher, who mistakenly believed it to be endearing, and quickly chastised her pupils once she was put in the picture.

A classic Yorkshire phrase, often attributed to Ossett:

Don't thee thou me, thee thou thissen, and 'ow tha likes thee thouing. (Don't you thou me, you thou yourself, and see how you like it!)

Apparently Shakespear uses this a lot to show disrespect for Kings, interesting relationships - Hamlet will only be formal with his mother - no Thee's and thou's there -   but in Romeo and Juliet "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?"

But it is still around some places apparently ...

In the dialect of the Shetland Islands (known as Shetlandic), itself a sub-dialect of Scots, several vestiges are preserved of an even earlier dialect (Norn), including the use of a familiar second person singular ("du") in tandem with a formal second person singular ("ye"), which doubles as the second person plural, as does its cognate ("you") in Standard English.

Lift thy Glass and drink heartily

(Oh apparently I won a raffle today in Aberaeron Tall ships - some sausages and fresh meat - yummy)

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