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  • Subject

    thy / thou

    What's the difference?
    "Thou" is "Du/Dein", and "thy?" "Du/Dein", too?
    Author macpet (304707) 14 Jun 07, 16:28
    #1Author AndreasS (251947) 14 Jun 07, 16:30
    thou = Du
    thee = dich
    thy/thine = dein
    #2Author bluejay(uk) (236423) 14 Jun 07, 16:32
    Danke Andreas, das klaert die Angelegenheit ein fuer alle Mal.
    #3Author macpet (304707) 14 Jun 07, 16:34
    bluejay thanks, too!
    #4Author macpet (304707) 14 Jun 07, 16:36
    When do sudents in america learn what thou, thee etc. mean?
    #5Authorclasled03 Sep 07, 19:04
    When they start reading the Bible.
    #6Author Werner (236488) 03 Sep 07, 19:24
    And when is that? About which age?
    #7Authorclasled09 Sep 07, 00:14
    Well, thanks Werner!
    #8Authorclasled12 Sep 07, 17:04
    The Bible in English is a translation, and modern translations do without thou etc.

    But you need to know "thou" to read Shakespeare. (And ideally, you have to know it's different from "you")
    #9Author escoville (237761) 12 Sep 07, 18:52
    That's intersting. Thank you escoville!

    What I am wondering about is wether a six year old child knows these words or do learn these in highschool? I am no Christian, I don't know when you start reading the bible.
    #10Authorclasled12 Sep 07, 20:11
    Most American childeren won't know the words and only begin to learn them in high school. Even many (most?) children from Christian families won't know them. As escoville said, you need to learn them to read Shakespeare in high school, but the modern Bible translations don't use them any more.

    KJV (King James Version) uses thee, thou, thine as a matter of course.
    NASV (New American Standard Version) uses Thee, Thou, Thine only in prayers and Psalms addressed to God; for "normal" speech it uses modern forms; this reflects usage in fundamentalist and conservative Protestant congregations
    NIV (New International Version) does not use thee, thou, thine at all. This is one of the most widely used translations in the US.

    Other translations (Good News, Revised Standard, American Standard, New King James, the Message, Jerusalem Bible, New American Bible, etc., etc.) use one of the three formats given above. The third one (no thee, thou, thine) is the most common; the middle one is the least common.

    I grew up reading the KJV (my first "adult Bible" at age 8 or 9 was a KJV) and have never had any problem understanding this. However, I had to explain it to most of my friends in high school because they had no idea what was happening. This was in the 1960's, and use of the KJV has declined since then.

    Today, I point out to my German students that "Thou hast" (etc.) is exactly analagous to "Du hast" (etc.), and that helps most of them understand the English when they read Shakespeare, so German becomes a vehicle to enlighten English.
    #11AuthorRobert -- US (unplugged)12 Sep 07, 21:53
    Thank you very much Robert for your detailed explanation!

    Now I can imagine well when children get confronted with thou, thee etc.
    #12Authorclasled13 Sep 07, 22:56
    Suggestionthy, thee, thine, thou
    THY Majesty! = Eure Majestät!
    THEE = Euch
    THINE = Euer
    THOU shall not kill! = Ihr (3 Person singular) sollt nicht töten!
    #13Authorlala17 Sep 10, 03:33
    Bei Goethe etc. haben wir ja auch die alten Anredeformen.
    2. Pers. sing., nicht dritte.
    #14Authorlala17 Sep 10, 03:37
    lala is talking nonsense. To say "Thy Majesty" would be oxymoronic, and hence presumably sarcastic.

    "Thou" is (a) singular, and (b) when it was still a part of the living language, used very much like "du", i.e. to God, close friends, family and (importantly) perceived inferiors. There is a play called (if I remember rightly) "Hickscorner" written at some time in the 16th century in which the following line occurs:

    "Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee!"

    The speaker is insulted at having been addressed as "thou", because he regards himself as superior. (Like being addressed by a lorry-driver as "mate" when you think he should have called you "guv'nor".)

    The Quakers made a point of calling everyone "thou" to emphasize their perceived equality. (In the same way they did not remove their hats.)
    #15Author escoville (237761) 20 Sep 10, 11:03
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