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  • Thou and thee

    Hi all, a little question, I need your enlightment...
    "Thou" is an arcaic way to say "you", right?
    And "Thee"? Is an arcaic plural form of "you"?

    In that case, why is it lost in modern English? How can you survive with the same word for 2nd person singular and 2nd person plural it will always be a mistery to me...
    www.lingostan.com

  • #2
    Interesting question Victor!

    Yes it is true, the only place you will see these now is in the bible.

    Just a quick clarification of terms:

    Thou - You (nominative)
    Thee - You (object)

    In certain Yorkshire dialectic speech, you still hear it.

    I'm not from Yorkshire but I have heard it. I wouldn't recommend learning this information as it isn't relevant in today's world.

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    • #3
      They are both singular forms. As for how to survive without the singular form - well, it just makes the English language more polite, that's all.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Zak View Post
        Thou - You (nominative)
        Thee - You (object)

        In certain Yorkshire dialectic speech, you still hear it.
        Ahhh... So I was wrong. It would be, for example:
        Thou live in Kansas.
        Thank thee!
        (or something like that...)

        Very interesting to know that they have this in Yorkshire!

        Thanks!
        www.lingostan.com

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        • #5
          In one of Dorothy Sayers' books - Clouds of Witness, I believe, it was - there was a character who spoke using these words when addressing his daughter. Rather funny, since I'd always associated thou and thee with either the Bible or very old poetry, and this character - a very violent farmer - spoke in a manner that no one would call refined. Probably, it was indeed the Yorkshire dialect.

          Dorothy Sayers loved imitating various dialects in writing - Scottish, Cockney, inverted Cockney (an h always added in front of a word starting with a vowel, whether needed or not); there was also a person speaking with a lisp (th put in place of every s), but that farmer's speech was the hardest for me to decipher, by far.

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          • #6
            @Irina, that's the most challenging part of foreign languages, don't you think so? Getting all small differences between different dialects or registers. That's for me one of the strongest points of places like Lingostan, you can do inside some of them, and have someone to explain you in detail.
            www.lingostan.com

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            • #7
              Yes, true. I've never had problems with switching between British and American English in writing, but when I speak it's a challenge. And of course, deciphering Cockney or Scottish accent when authors try to imitate is in writing is a very special sort of fun. Gladys Mitchell, for example, does it very differently from Dorothy Sayers.

              But since I refuse to touch graded readers, I get what I deserve, I guess

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