I have a little doubt about the word 'THEE'

Spaniard   Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:10 am GMT
I've read different things about this word. I have searched in the internet and I know it is an archaich form of 'you' but I've also found some contradictory opinions, because some people said to me that it is commonly used until today in some parts of Northern England. So, is this word used in modern world when you're trying to show respect for someone you're talking with or is it just a word that I can only find in old and dusty poetry books? Thanks ind advance for your help!
furrykef   Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:29 am GMT
This page should have everything you want to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou
Bubbanator   Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:37 am GMT
Actually, "thee" is the INformal accusative form of "you". For comparison:

(Language) Second Person Singular Form
(Formal Address) (Informal Address)

German Sie du

French vous tu

Spanish Usted tu

Portuguese Voce tu

Dutch U jou

English you thou

"thou" is the nominative form of the pronoun, "thee" the accusative.

"Thou art lovely" ...BUT.... "I love thee very much"

I believe the confusion, that is the idea that "thou" and "thee" are the FORMAL, not the INFORMAL forms of second-person address comes from the use of these pronouns in the King James Version of the Bible in reference to God. In the modern context, most people would assume that if there is a choice, you would naturally use the more formal variant when addressing the Deity, whereas the rule in all Indo-European languages at least is that the informal form is used in addressing God, animals, small children and close relations and dear friends.

Note that the formal form is mostly used in print in Dutch, and that Swedish, Danish and Norwegian have for all practical purposes abandoned any use of the formal. Among these would be the nearest linguistic forbears of the grammatical base of our language.

Hope this helps.
AJC   Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:04 am GMT
Although used in many, mainly rural, areas of northern England (and as the Wikipedia article shows, some in Scotland), you would normally only find thou/thee and thy used in very strong dialect speech. So for instance "thou" would be rendered as [Da] in most of Yorkshire and [Du:] in Durham. Most people who speak in local dialects will avoid use of these and other words when speaking to someone outside of the area, though, so most visitors would be unlikely to hear the use. You're more likely to hear the word "thee" used in old plays or church services.