'I'll Tell Thee Thou Dost Evil'

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 32 pages
Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 1,7, University of Cologne (Englisches Seminar), course: English Grammar - synchronic and diachronic aspects, 18 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In Middle English and Early Modern English one could choose either You or Thou (and their respective variants see Simpson et al. 2005: entry Thou, pers., pron., 2nd sing.). Either choice carried a number of implications, depending on the period of time in the language (Barber 1976:204-210). This system, which exists in many (but predominately European) countries is generally referred to as the T/V distinction. Although similar to the German T/V distinction (Blake 1983:6), there is a phenomenon in Early Modern English, particularly in Shakespeare's plays, which sets the You/Thou distinction apart. Whereas in German, French or Italian, it would be very rare and even rude to switch back and forth from T to V or the other way around, this must have happened quite frequently in Early Modern English dialogues (Brown and Gilman 1960:274-275). Eventually, of course, the use of Thou declined leaving the English language with only one second person pronoun, serving all cases without alteration (except possessive Yours and determiner Your) and both singular and plural (Görlach 1991:85). A speaker of Early Modern English consequently had not only the option of choosing T or V once, he or she could also switch within a conversation, sometimes within a single utterance. The choice then would carry certain implications, about the emotions of the speaker, about his fondness or dislike of the addressee, or about the social ranks of both addresser and addressee. As a result, choosing the pronoun became a tool in dialogues that could be used to acknowledge or insult. The T/V distinction will be discussed, its appearance in Early Modern English and particularly Shakespeare's language. Then, in order to attain
 

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Page 19 - Thou, nature, art my goddess ; to thy law My services are bound : Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom ; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother? Why bastard?
Page 9 - Superior and not Solidary Equal and Solidary T Equal and not Solidary V Inferior and Solidary...
Page 16 - Our eldest-born, speak first. GONERIL. Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter...
Page 15 - The so-called pejorative tendency is the result of a very human disposition which prompts us to veil, to attenuate, to disguise ideas which are disagreeable, wounding or repulsive. There is nothing in it all save a feeling of consideration, a precaution against unnecessary shocks, a precaution which, whether sincere or feigned, is not long efficient, since the...
Page 12 - It would be perfectly possible for Thou to play a relatively small role in real life, while in drama, because of its concentration of emotional tension and its tendency to present scenes of confrontation, Thou appeared much more frequently.
Page 16 - I other accents borrow, That can my speech defuse, my good intent May carry through it selfe to that full issue For which I raiz'd my likenesse. Now banisht Kent, If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd, So may it come, thy Master whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of abours.
Page 11 - HI, come to different results in terms of the usualness of you as the "generally accepted form of the pronoun in use in the upper classes, except from father to daughter, and, possibly, from women to their female servants".
Page 4 - Acerca del uso de corpus de textos dramáticos, estos autores observan: (...) dramatic texts provide the best information on colloquial speech of the period (1990: 159) (...) the more skilful the dramatíst the more skilful he will be if presenting the normal life of his time, in authenticating the action by an acceptable version of contemporary speech (1990: 170). ((...) los textos dramáticos proporcionan la mejor información sobre el...
Page 14 - Such a use, once introduced, must snowball, since in all cases of doubt one would rather be polite than risk giving offence, and every precedent widens the range of cases of doubt.

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