FW: [b-hebrew] Re:plurality & divinity

Bearpecs at aol.com Bearpecs at aol.com
Wed Jun 22 11:30:59 EDT 2005


 
In a message dated 6/22/2005 10:05:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time,  
yodan at yodanco.com writes:

I wonder  if "you" in English used to have two different forms - a
singular and a  plural - that became one.  


"You" was originally plural, and "thou" ("thee" in objective case) was  
singular, corresponding to German "du".
As in German ("Sie") and French ("vous"), "you" was used not only as plural  
but as the formal singular.  "Thou" was used in informal context, with  
friends, etc.   But it was also used in intimate context, with family;  and for this 
reason was also used to address Gd.  It is because of this  sense of intimacy 
that the title of Martin Buber's book was translated "I and  Thou" rather 
than "I and You".
 
One sometimes sees "ye" in place of "you" and I am not familiar with the  
history of that variant.  (I've often seen it in old translations of  the plural 
imperative: e.g. "praise ye the L-rd".)  It is not to be  confused, however, 
with the word in archaizing usage like "Ye Olde Widget  Shoppe", in which the 
"y" in "ye" stands for an orthographic variant of the  old letter "eth" which 
normally looked like a curved small "d" with a line  through the stem and 
represented the "th" sound in "the".
 
 



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