The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132499   Message #4052521
Posted By: Joe_F
14-May-20 - 06:37 PM
Thread Name: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Mrrzy: In Bible English, the singular forms were thou, thee, thy, thine, and the plural forms were ye, you, your, yours. However (as in many European languages), it was considered polite to use the plural form in addressing a superior. That worked its way down to addressing equals, and by Shakespeare's time it was getting to be an insult to "thou" someone (other than God).

In other languages the process has not gone so far; it is a sign of intimacy to use the "thou" forms. In German, there is actually a ceremony for that: you drink a toast while linking elbows, and thereafter you are buddies or sweethearts and call each other du instead of sie. When I studied Russian we learned an amusing list of persons whom one still called "ty" instead of "vy": family, close friends, children, animals, God, and the Tsar.