Thou shalle speake Englishe

Broam   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 19:31 GMT
bro   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 19:39 GMT
I have seen thou somewhere else, is it another way to say you.
Sima   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 20:07 GMT
Juliet said to Romeo :
Will "thou" be gone : It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of "thine" ear.
Jay   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 21:14 GMT
"Thou" is the now archaic English word for "you" in the singular nominative case. It was useful, and now it's gone.
A.S.C.M.   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 02:03 GMT
And "thou" was the familiar second person form. It was probably abolished for security reasons. After all, in the days of yore, it was always safer to address a beggar formally than to address a nobleman in a familiar tone, for that could have cost you your head. No "thou" = no risk of insulting a nob.
A.S.C.M.   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 02:14 GMT
Also, "thou SHALT" is proper grammar.
Jim   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 02:45 GMT
Thou shalt speake Englisc.

From the little I've managed to gather both Jay and A.S.C.M. are right although they seem to say contradictory things.

Jay's more or less talking Old English in which

"thou" was the second person singular subject pronoun,

"thee" was the second person singular object pronoun,

"you" was the second person plural subject pronoun and

"ye" was the second person plural object pronoun.

It was in Middle English that the "thee"/"thou" verses "ye"/"you" distinction shifted from being a singular verses plural one to one denoting familiarity/superiority verses respect/inferiority.
Simon   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 08:23 GMT
Zwounds, what dost thou mean, fellow?
Interesting...   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 11:50 GMT
I would be very interested in learning more about these old-fashioned grammar and spelling. DOST anyone know a website easy to read and comprehensive about it?
By the way, what DOST "zwounds" mean, Simon?
Simon   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 12:22 GMT
It's an old oath. It's short for "God's wounds!" probably preceded by something like "by" or "in the name of" etc.

There is also something I've heard in AE, ie. gadzoonds or something.

Strewth that Australians say is similar. It is short for "God's truth!"
Simon   Wednesday, October 01, 2003, 12:23 GMT

This is interesting in this respect.
Jim   Thursday, October 02, 2003, 00:18 GMT
Struth Simon, þou art a knowledgeable chap.

What I was no about is

"In Old English, thou (and its related forms) was used for addressing one person; ye (and its related forms) for more than one. Within these categories, thou and you were used as clause subject, thee and ye as object.

"During Middle English, ye / you came to be used as a polite singular form alongside thou / thee, a situation which was probably influenced by French vous vs tu.

"During Early Modern English, [the language of Shakespeare's time] the distinction between subject and object uses of ye and you gradually disappeared, and you became the norm in all grammatical functions and social situations. Ye continued in use, but by the end of the 16th century it was restricted to archaic, religious, or literary contexts. By 1700, the thou forms were also largely restricted in this way."

-- The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, ed. David Crystal (CUP: 1995), p. 71

I pinched this from
except I fixed "thou and ye were used as clause subject, thee and you as object." which was obviously a mistake.

Was it þis þat þou didst ask about, Simon?
Jim   Thursday, October 02, 2003, 00:21 GMT
"What I was on about"


"What I was no about"
Antonio   Thursday, October 02, 2003, 12:03 GMT
Thou, thee, thy and thine are so easy, and even so people don´t seem to get it right. Even native speakers.
to antonio   Thursday, October 02, 2003, 15:52 GMT
well why would they? They are long extinct words! Besides many people don't even know the difference between 'I' and 'me' in modern english.