Saturday, November 22, 2008
YET ANOTHER WOTD
Word of the Day
Definition: 2nd person singular personal pronoun.
Usage: "Ye" (subject) and "you" (object) were the plural and formal forms of the 2nd person pronoun (= y'all, youse, y'uns) through the Middle English period, which culminated in Shakespeare. "Thou" (subject) and "thee" (object) were singular and informal. The relationship was parallel to the use of "tu" and "vous" in French. "Thou knowest" referred to a single person with whom the speaker was familiar, while "ye know" referred either to more than one person or to one person whom the speaker would address politely. In the object position, "thee" and "you" was used: "I know thee" or "I know you all." These pronouns are still heard in parts of Yorkshire, Cumbria, and the East Midlands of England and hence are legitimate Words of the Day.
Suggested Usage: The Quakers used "thee" as both subject and object form for some reason. The possessives were "thy" and "thine," used in the same way "a" and "an" are used today: "thy head" but "thine eyes" (compare, "Mine eyes have seen the glory . . ." from the song, 'Battle Hymn of the Republic').
Etymology: The personal pronouns in the Indo-European languages still share remarkable resemblances. English "thou" corresponds to "du" in German, "tu" in French, "ty" in Russian and Polish, in Bengali "tui," in Persian "to," and to Pashto "te." (Remember, Proto-Indo-European [t] regularly became [th] in English.) The pronouns were originally accompanied by distinct endings on the verb in the singular but not in the plural: I know, you knowest, s/he knoweth; we/you/they know. No one has any idea why the plural form of the 2nd person pronoun assumed the function of the singular form in English but in no other language. –Dr. Language, YourDictionary.com
What English lacks, and I have no idea why, is a plural of you, meaning all of you. Various area of the county have formed their own. In Western PA it is "Yinz" That is an abrasive word. "Do yinz want to order?" You can tell a person from Pittsburgh just by the yinz. I often wondered if they were aware of how it sounds.................no, they wouldn't do it if they were......A derogatory term locally, is to call someone a "yinzer" it is the equivalent of an uneducated yahoo.
Posted by Claudia at 9:12 PM