Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thy old words

  1. Jun 8, 2014 #1

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Native English speakers! Please tell me all the words you know which is in the same genre as :Thou,thy,thine,shalt and Lo!. They are the only old words I know.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2014 #2

    collinsmark

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    If I'm not mistaken, English once had formal and informal pronouns like many other languages have today.

    Words such as "thou," "thy," "thine," and such were informal, in that these were words you would speak to a familiar or child. They were eventually (and chaotically) replaced by the formal versions of the words, "you," "your," and "yours."
     
  4. Jun 8, 2014 #3

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Then why do I see those words in translations of Bible and Quran?
     
  5. Jun 8, 2014 #4

    DrGreg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "Thee"

    The difference between "thou" and "thee" is the same as the difference between "I" and "me" (i.e. subject and object).

    For further information, see Thou.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  6. Jun 8, 2014 #5

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The basic difference was between singular and plural, not formal and informal. Thou, thee, thy, etc are singular. You, your, etc are plural.

    Having singular and plural forms is consistent with the other pronouns like I and we, or he/she/it and they.

    In the early translations of the bible they are used in that way. They are still used in some dialects of British English, but not in "standard English".

    European languages like French and German use the plural form instead of the singular in formal language, and the singular form only in informal situations ("tu" and "vous" in French). In standard English the "informal" form is never used, so effectively "you" has become both singular and plural.

    In English the first person plural can also be used as a formal form of the singular. A scientific report written by one person would probably say "We observed that ....", not "I observed that..." The plural is also used by high ranking people when referring to themselves - and is use in jokes such as royal impersonators saying things like "our husband and we" for "my husband and I".

    As an aside, some languages have three forms these pronouns, not two, used when referring to one, two, or more than two people or things.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2014 #6

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Oh. Thanks guys.
    lol
     
  8. Jun 8, 2014 #7

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This is often called the "royal we", as in a quote that is famously (although perhaps incorrectly) attributed to Queen Victoria: "We are not amused."

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Victoria_of_the_United_Kingdom

    This is also done in other languages, as in this proclamation by Tsar Alexander I when Russia took over Finland from Sweden in 1809:

    http://www.histdoc.net/historia/alex1.html (Finnish)
    http://www.histdoc.net/history/ru/aleks1.html (original Russian version)
    http://www.histdoc.net/history/alex1.html (English translation)

    (Finnish “ME” = Russian “МЫ” = English “WE”)
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  9. Jun 8, 2014 #8

    DrGreg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Margaret Thatcher once said "We have become a grandmother".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Gxruh-pLI
     
  10. Jun 8, 2014 #9

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I can't see the video :confused:
    EDIT:It's Ok now
     
  11. Jun 8, 2014 #10

    adjacent

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Lol :rofl:
     
  12. Jun 8, 2014 #11

    Bandersnatch

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The English of the period is called Early Modern English. Shakespeare and King James' Bible are prime examples of the langue.

    Have a look here:
    http://www.lexilogos.com/english/english_modern_early.htm
    There's a plethora of resources there to cover most of the subject.

    "A glossary of Tudor and Stuart words" and "A Shakespearian grammar" might be especially relevant.

    Here's a few off the top of my head:

    yon or yond(er) - like this and that, but indicating the object being remote from both the speaker and the hearer, but visible to both.

    be - as an auxiliary to form the perfect form of some verbs. E.g., "My son is come" instead of "my son has come", or like in that M83 song: "My tears are become a sea"

    -st, -est - I'm not sure here, but I think these inflections were used with verbs whenever thou has been used. E.g., "Thou never gavest me a kid", "Thou hast bested me"
     
  13. Jun 8, 2014 #12

    drizzle

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    We do have this royal we too. Needless to say, my mind go crazy when I hear it. But, what can we do.
     
  14. Jun 8, 2014 #13

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Zounds! Gadzooks! Are those the only archaic words you know? The English language contains divers words, from a to izzard, that are no longer in use.


    Thy old words used above:
    • zounds: a mild oath indicating surprise, indignation, etc.
    • gadsooks: Another interjection used as a mild oath.
    • http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/divers [Broken]: of varying types; several.
    • izzard: the letter z, typically used in the context of from A to izzard, "from beginning to end."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  15. Jun 8, 2014 #14

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    This has the making for a fun game!
     
  16. Jun 8, 2014 #15

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Another "gotcha" in old English is words that have reversed their meanings. For example "let" used to mean "prevent", not "allow" or "permit". It still means "prevention" in the legal phrase "without let or hindrance".

    Oh, and "prevent" used to mean "precede" (from the Latin for "come before"), not, er, prevent.
     
  17. Jun 8, 2014 #16

    Ben Niehoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Originally, yes. However, ...

    Different languages adopted different strategies to indicate formality. In German, one replaces "du" with "Sie" ("they"), which is third person plural. In Spanish, "tu" is replaced with "usted", from "vuestra merced", or "your (pl) grace".

    English adopted the same pattern as French, where "thou" became the familiar form, and "you" the formal form. This was the usage in Shakespeare's time, which is evidenced in his plays. You can see characters call someone "you" until they are angry, and then call them "thou" as an insult. One line is even "I thou thee!" (or, "I call you 'thou'!"). (Sorry, but I forget which play.)
     
  18. Jun 8, 2014 #17

    AlephZero

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Verbing weirds language :biggrin:

    Twelfth Night Act 3 Scene 2:
    SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK: Will either of you bear me a challenge to him?
    SIR TOBY BELCH Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief; it is no matter how witty, so it be eloquent and full of invention: taunt him with the licence of ink: if thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England, set 'em down: go, about it.

    http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/twn_3_2.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  19. Jun 8, 2014 #18

    Ben Niehoff

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Other languages verb as well. In Spanish, "tutear" = to call someone "tu". In German, "duzen" and "siezen". I forget what it is in French.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2014 #19

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You have to be careful with personal pronouns in German.

    'Sie' (note the capital S) is the formal pronoun meaning 'you', in both the singular and plural nominative cases.

    'sie' (lower case s) means 'she' in the singular nominative case, 'they' in the plural nominative case.

    German has kept many of the inflections for the personal pronouns:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pronouns
     
  21. Jun 9, 2014 #20

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The 411 on 'thou':

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou

    This article includes the declension of 'thou' and shows examples of how different verbs were conjugated with this form of the second person pronoun. The third person conjugation endings have also shifted over time (ex. 'she hath', archaic, is now 'she has').

    Over time, the perfect tense auxiliary verb in English has shifted from forms of 'to be' to forms of 'to have'.

    In English, on Easter Sunday, churches would proclaim 'He is risen', whereas now, one would say, 'He has risen'.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Thy old words
  1. Is there a word? (Replies: 10)

  2. Same old same old (Replies: 12)

  3. Same old same old. (Replies: 2)

Loading...