thees and thous....
Posted by Kate on July 02, 1998 at 12:20:08:
In response to Pr' thee, thou hast, written by Constanza on July 02, 1998 at 10:51:53
] I know it is old-fashioned speech, but can somebody explain how it was used? I mean, was it colloquial or informal? How come it is also use in prayers? When did it become old-fashioned? (I remember Fancy Day in Under the Greenwood Tree asking her father not to speak like that because it was no longer fashionable)-
Some literary evidence.
"thee" and "thou" are the english equivalent of "tu" and "toi", so they're supposed to be more intimate than "you".
Shakespeare used "thee" and "thou" sometimes, but not all the time. By Fielding and Austen, they seemed to have dropped out of educated english for all but religious purposes (or poetry).
But I remember in "Sons and Lovers", (set late 1900s) the father, speaking a northern dialect would sometimes use "thee" and it may be that this is still used in some dialects?
As far as religion is concerned, "thee" was used to address God (because it was the more intimate form), and the King James Bible, (and the Book of Common Prayer) which set the standard for religious language, was written around Shakespeare's time, when "thee" would still have had this connotation.
"thee" continued in religious language until very recently - some people still use "thee" in prayer. But it now tends to be used because of its distinction and difference, rather than it's intimacy - because we don't call our loved ones "thee" it is rather strange to cal god "thee". So "thee" has now dropped out of much religious discourse, including, I think, the Catholic liturgy.
- Liturgy Ann 00:58:01 7/03/98 (2)
- Not quite so simple. Caroline 22:46:35 7/02/98 (8)
- thee and God Art 09:36:43 7/04/98 (1)
- True! Caroline 12:10:32 7/04/98 (0)
- I was meaning "thee" as ooposed to "you" Kate 19:38:35 7/03/98 (0)
- thanks! Laura W 12:54:05 7/03/98 (4)
- I believe it is still used by the Amish faith. (nfm) Carolyn 13:29:49 7/02/98 (0)
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