Re: Redneck step of the day...

Subject: Re: Redneck step of the day...
From: Janet Swisher <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 15:36:39 -0600

On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Combs, Richard
<richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com> wrote:
> Pinkham, Jim wrote:
>
>> Interesting question, Madelyn. I immediately thought of "thee" and
>> "thou," once differentiating the informal and formal "you", but that
>> doesn't help on the plural side. As it happens, someone else has been
>> pondering, too:
>> http://linguistlessons.blogspot.com/2008/08/2nd-person-plural.html. I
>> turned to Wikipedia, too, and the author of that article maintains
> that
>> "ye" is the archaic second person plural,
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_person.
>
> You, Madelyn, and Robert are all slightly confused. English isn't in
> need of a second person _plural_ pronoun; it has always had a perfectly
> good one -- you (evolved from ye).
>
> The problem is that the second person _singular_ pronoun, thou, fell out
> of favor, and now you is used for both singular and plural. But it's a
> pretender as the singular, and should return to its rightful place as
> the plural.


And to clarify even further: originally, "you" was the objective case
form and "ye" was the subjective case form of the second-person
plural. Similarly, "thee" was the objective case form and "thou" was
the subjective case form in the second-person singular. Some time
after the singular forms dropped out of use, "you" took over the
subjective case as well, and "ye" dropped out of use.

Quakers continued using the second-person singular form much longer
than the general English-speaking population, at first as a political
marker and later as an in-group marker. But the same
subjective/objective shift took place, with "thou" being replaced by
"thee".

> Search thine hear and see if thou art with me. :-)

That's archaic. In Quaker "plain speech", that would be "Search thy
heart and see if thee is with me" :-)


--
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Redneck step of the day...: From: Janice Gelb
RE: Redneck step of the day...: From: Brian.Henderson
RE: Redneck step of the day...: From: Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)
RE: Redneck step of the day...: From: Pinkham, Jim
RE: Redneck step of the day...: From: Combs, Richard

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