thee and thou
Posted by Art on July 02, 1998 at 20:27:57:
In response to Pr' thee, thou hast, written by Constanza on July 02, 1998 at 10:51:53
The informal and singular "you" was used into the late nineteenth century among low types in the northern counties, Yorkshire, Cheshire, and so forth, but had indeed dropped out of more "polite" speech a century earlier. Singular "you" was, of course, an informal mode of address, as it is in French, German, etc., but became declasse among the English middle and upper classes at least a couple of decades before Jane wrote. Interestingly, the northern counties remained a Quaker stronghold even after the great migration of that group to America starting in the late 17th century, and it was there (York, Chester, etc.) that it retained its longest daily usage in England. The Quakers still used the "plain" speech among themselves, in intimate surroundings only, even among my parents' generation, but the usage is quite gone now among them except for the occasional eccentric. This post has rambled but I hope it's helpful.
- Interesting! Caroline 22:41:30 7/02/98 (4)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.