Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thee or Thou continued

Ask and ye (or you) shall receive. Not only have Micah Bales and Marshall Massey offered wisdom, Gerald Grant provides a link to a 1938 article by Kenneth Morse that seems the definitive word on plain speaking grammar at:

Kenneth Morse in plain dress 1944.
HT: Quaker Jane, who also provided the link to his article.
Morse taught at Olney Friends School.

The consensus--or unity--position seems to be that Quaker plain speech derives from a northern English dialect that never used thou as a subject. As do plain speaking Quakers today, the Yorkshire people used thee for both subject and object and conjugated the corresponding verb in the third person singular. So, the phrase "Is thee going to the meeting?" is entirely grammatical within the context of this dialect.

Yorkshire, where "thee" reigned supreme.

The "thou art" formulations of the King James bible derive from the Midlands dialect.

The King James bible does not use Quaker plain speech.

I found Morse's article quite interesting.

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