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Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer
#16
(01-19-2015, 05:34 AM)Optatus Cleary Wrote: I could be mistaken about this, but from what I understand "thee, thy, and thou" were historically the singular second person, with "you" being the plural second person.  So thou meant the same thing as you means today, and you meant the same thing that various dialects use you all/y'all/ye/you guys/you'ns, etc.

Similarly to French, where the plural form "vous" is more formal than the singular form "tu," even when speaking with only one person.  Thus, "you" (or "ye") became a way of addressing a single individual.  Despite the fact that "thou" was already on the way out of colloquial usage, Bible translations tended to keep it, either as a way of preserving distinctions between plural and singular in the original Hebrew and Greek, or as a way of emphasizing a personal and "singular" relationship with God.  (This is also why Quakers historically used "thee" to address others: to emphasize equality and familiarity).

Thus, it is a bit odd that we see it as formal and rigid today, when it was originally informal and friendly.  With that in mind, I rather like prayers that retain it.  I don't deliberately insert it where I haven't learned it, but I do certainly use it in the Hail Mary and the Our Father, and don't feel any concerns about it.

You are not mistaken. Thee, thy, thou were the second person singular. It can also be seen in the conjugation of verbs. "Thou hast" is the equivalent of the German "Du hast" (2nd person singular), whereas the conjugation for you (you have) is that of the 2nd person plural.
So even though everyone thinks that English does (in contrast to many other languages) not have a formal form for addressing someone, in reality it does not have an informal form any more.

Ironically, in the French Church, exactly the opposite happened. Traditionally, God and Mary were addressed with the second person plural in French Catholicism, but after Vatican 2, the French Church switched to singular.
So the English speaking Church switched from singular to plural, and the Trads insist on using singular, whereas the French Church switched from plural to singular, and the Trads insist on using the plural.
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Messages In This Thread
Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Heorot - 01-17-2015, 09:37 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous - by Heorot - 01-17-2015, 09:43 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous - by formerbuddhist - 01-17-2015, 09:44 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Sequentia - 01-17-2015, 09:58 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous - by Credidi Propter - 01-17-2015, 10:05 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Dirigible - 01-18-2015, 03:54 AM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Heorot - 01-18-2015, 09:34 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by olorin12 - 01-19-2015, 12:29 AM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Dirigible - 01-19-2015, 04:18 AM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Dirigible - 01-19-2015, 06:06 AM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Heorot - 01-19-2015, 09:15 AM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Freudentaumel - 01-19-2015, 02:46 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by GangGreen - 01-19-2015, 02:54 PM
Re: Thees & Thys & Thous in prayer - by Heorot - 01-19-2015, 02:54 PM



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