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 Thee thous them as thous thee!

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PostSubject: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 10:24

In modern English the second person nominative, whether singular or plural, is you and this is used regardless of whether one is addressing a servant, a lover, a parent, or a monarch. In archaic English, and still in some regional dialects, the plural is you while the singular is thou (with the accusative thee and the possessive thy and thine). But, like the French tu/vous distinction, one should not use the singular form when addressing someone of higher rank, unless one is being deliberately insulting.

Shakespeare, in whose time thou was still in normal use, uses the distinctions well, as in the exchange between Clarence and his murderers in Richard III. They initially refer to him using the formal you while he uses thou to them individually and you when addressing them together. But then, when they are disparaging him they change to using thou. He scorns them using thou, tries pleading his case using you and finally begs for his life, appealing to common humanity, again using thou.

Today thou still exists in some English dialects, such as in Yorkshire, where the put down to a youngster that addresses an elder or better as thou might be:
"Thee thous them as thous thee, and not afore, si'thee lad!". But probably the only other places where thou is still likely to be encountered is the King James Bible and The book of Common Prayer, eg The Lord’s Prayer (as I was taught it): "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy will be done, thy kingdom come, …"

So, this is my question:

Why does one address the Lord God using the familiar thou? Was the Greek and Hebrew translated thus to indicate the personal one-to-one relationship with God, or to emphasis God’s role as a heavenly father? In the preamble to the KJB James VI is always formally addressed using you, but in the text God is always addressed as thou. He Himself always correctly uses thou to individuals: Adam, Abraham, Moses, and in the commandments ie to each person individually, and He only uses you to address people en masse, eg. the Hebrews.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly simple explanation, but if a Yorkshire farm lad still can’t address an old gaffer using the familiar thou, why was it officially declared that the proper way to address "The Lord thy God", was using thou?
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 11:06

Meles meles, in modern French the "tu" form is accepted while addressing God, I think to emphasise closeness between the person praying and the prayed to one, so maybe that is why "thou" is used addressing God in the English of the King James VI bible. People of my mother's generation had a saying "The whole world's odd except thee and me, and even thee's a bit peculiar at times".  This was originally from Yorkshire I think but must have spread as I heard it in Staffordshire. In the current Catholic mass book the correct translation of "Credo in unum Deum" as "I believe in one God" has been adopted after several years of "We believe ..."  Hope I don't "kill off" your thread as I seem to have that effect sometimes .....


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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 11:12

@Meles Meles wrote:
... why was it officially declared that the proper way to address "The Lord thy God", was using thou?

No declaration ever occurred that I am aware of. However when Tyndale translated the bible from Greek and Hebrew sources he also relied heavily on Luther's already published German translation of the New Testament, not just for content but also for what conventions regarding language should apply. The point of the exercise globally was to present an alternative to the Latin version in each language's vernacular, but not so diverse that this would present theological discrepancies. In keeping with the long tradition within European languages of using the informal version of the pronoun when addressing God anyway (as LiR has also pointed out while I was writing this), even in vulgate Latin, Luther and other translators at the time had established a sort of grammatical standard that should apply when writing religious text. Tyndale followed suit and was in fact only employing a use of the informal "thou" that had in fact already become a regional standard in London. The King James translation later took its cue from Tyndale and continued with the usage. The justification would have been historically and in all languages into which the bible was being translated that the informal is used in cases where the relationship is ambiguous. Placing a god who is lord, peer and supplicant in his various behaviours always grammatically only in the first role is theologically problematic.

It is undeniable however that this usage did contradict colloquial usage at the time, especially in regions outside of London and less in thrall to Norman French conventions. Where those conventions had been imposed it had led to grammatical confusion regarding personal and impersonal pronouns. The Scandinavian "Dem", for example, which when capitalised changed from "them" to "you plural" in the accusative and even sometimes became "they" in cases where nominal and accusative uses existed in the same sentence, had no equivalent as a rule in French. Southerners especially therefore simply dropped the construct completely, whereas elsewhere it - and all the implications regarding status it contained - persisted for many centuries after the conquest. Eyebrows must indeed have been raised in Yorkshire when Tyndale's book arrived first.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 11:27

OK thou wasn't exactly "officially declared" the proper way to address The Lord, but as you say the informal thou was the way God was addressed in the official Bible translations, and indeed so it seems, how He was addressed, in the vernacular, throughout Europe.

How is God addressed in the original Greek and Hebrew texts, I wonder? Does the practice of using the singular/informal come originally from translation of the purely singular .... with no familiarity/disrespect being originally implied. Does Greek, either ancient or modern, have the equivalent of the tu/vous distinction? ID?


EDIT :

Yes LIR, the French translation of the Bible does use tu when God is addressed, but interestingly in prayer I think Christ is usually addressed as vous, but I'm not certain of that .... it's been a long time since I have attended mass conducted in French.


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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 11:36

The old Greek texts of New Testament scripture used the familiar/informal version, yes. And again this would appear to reflect a theological dilemma regarding how much distance should be implied between the speaker and their god.

I assume modern Greek retains this as the distinction between formal and informal address is breaking down anyway. ID?

Found this online - the Lord's Prayer in its original rendition with translation. Note "sou" as the adjectival pronoun form.

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
Pater hêmôn ho-en toes ouranoes [Pater imon o-entis uranis ]
Our Father who art in heaven

ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou [Haiastheeto to onomasoo ]
hallowed be your Name

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
elthetô hê basileia sou [eltheto ee vasileea soo ]
Thy kingdom come

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου,
genêthêtô to thelêma sou [Kenaytheeto to thelimasoo ]
Let there be thy will

ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês [os en orano kai epitis gis ]
as in heaven on earth

τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron [Ton arton imon ton epioosion dos imin simeron ]
the bread of substance/existence give us daily

καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, [Kaiafes imin ta ofilaymata imon]
And forgive us our trespasses/sins

ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn; [os kaimees afiemen tois ofiletes imon]
as we forgive those who trespass/sin against us

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmôn, [kai mi isenengkes imas is pirasmon]
and lead us not into temptation

ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou. [alla rusa imas apo too poniroo. ]
but deliver us from evil.

ἀμήν.
Amen
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 13:12

This is a very interesting topic, MM.

There are many confusing instances of the familiar "thou" form being used in the KJV.

For example,  Christ is recorded as using the familiar form when addressing Satan: "Get thee behind me, Satan." (See edit).

More perplexing is its use in the account of the healing of the centurion's servant. The Roman officer speaks to Jesus with the utmost respect, yet addresses him as "thou": "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."

Then there's the Old Testament  - "thou" is used all the time there too when addressing the Deity. The psalmist, for example, exhorts his audience to speak familiarly to God while at the same time contemplating that it is unwise to cross him: "Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee."

One is very confused indeed - but then by 1611 the use of thee/you etc. was already changing. But James was a pedantic old so-and-so; you had to be very careful how you addressed him. The KJV scholars probably realised that God wouldn't have a almighty huff at the use of an incautious pronoun, but the King might.

PS I wonder if the theological dilemma stems from Christ using the Aramaic word "Abba" - which actually has the meaning of "daddy" rather than "father" when he prayed? It's not a translation I've ever seen used - not even in the "Message" version of the New Testament (although I've not read that very closely, I must admit). "Daddy" sounds all wrong - as does "Papa". Yet I'm told that is definitely what "Abba" means, even in modern Hebrew. Odd that it was kept in the original form in the Greek New Testament (I think it appears three times - Tim would know.)

EDIT: My error - Jesus was actually speaking to the unfortunate Simon Peter when he said that.


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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 13:13

Wouldn't have a clue how god is addressed in modern Greek Nordmann. All religious services and prayers are in Ancient Greek anyway, which is way over my head.

But generally, informal language has overtaken the formal. In Greece there is a formal language which is distinct from the general version called Katharevousa. Katharevousa was used in schools, all government and official communiques and in all media up until the 1980s when it was abolished in favour of the standard Modern Greek dialect. I think the church may still use Katharevousa in official communications though.

Sorry MM, I'm no help at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 13:18

@Temperance wrote:
Yet I'm told that is definitely what "Abba" means, even in modern Hebrew. Odd that it was kept in the original form in the Greek New Testament (I think it appears three times - Tim would know.)
Not odd Temp, Dad it is the same word in Greek. Baba, and patera is the more formal for father.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 14:27

I haven't made myself clear, ID.

What I don't know is whether it was customary for an adult Jewish male - a teacher - to use the word "Abba" when praying. Does anyone know? Would this have been quite acceptable to other Jews, or would it have seemed quite outrageous? To our ears "Daddy! Father..."  sounds "odd" - in the sense of being just too childish, too informal.  No translation I know of has Christ in Gethsemane pleading with "Daddy" to be let off what lies ahead. Abba  is never translated, but it is kept in its Aramaic (?) form and is followed by the formal word "father". But why was the word kept? Why did the translators not just put "Father"?  It must have been significant.

EDIT: this site gives several versions, but only the Message translates "Abba". Even they don't go as far as "Daddy".

Mark 14:36 MSG
The Message

"Papa, Father, you can - can't you? - get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want - what do you want?"


http://www.biblestudytools.com/mark/14-36-compare.html

EDIT: Tyndale has, "Abba father, all thinges are possible unto the, take awaye this cuppe from me..."

PS MM I'm not trying to detract from your topic, honest - it's the familiarity and informality of the use of "Abba!" that interests me.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 14:38

Temp wrote:
There are many confusing instances of the familiar "thou" form being used in the KJV.
But what is confusing? The King James version is assiduous in its use of "you" as the accusative of "you plural", "ye" as nominative of the same, and "thee" and "thou" for singular application. But at issue was not whether this invoked familiarity, due or undue, but whether obeying the other convention based on social status would lead to unnecessary theological confusion. King James I might have been a pedant in the area of the social conventions of his day, but he was also definitely not interested in starting a whole new religion arising from the confusion grammatical pedantry could well induce in an era when the accessibility of the bible in the vernacular was contributing to troublesome and unwelcome offshoot sects who sometimes (a bit like certain people today) thought that God spoke the King's English and were quite prepared to theologise based on the translation to hand. James was in the business of nipping these sects in the bud, not encouraging them. The brief handed out at the Hampton Court Conference was to neutralise Puritan input into the new translation, and addressing the nature of the relationship between the individual and their god was a crucial aspect to this. Room had to be left for church doctrine to be derived from a crown-approved theological stance and in that context the issue of "you" verses "thou" became important. To complicate the language with deference to prevailing conventions (already on the way out anyway) would play into the hands of the Puritan pedants, a much more dangerous specimen of the species than the king.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 15:45

@Temperance wrote:

EDIT: Tyndale has, "Abba father, all thinges are possible unto the, take awaye this cuppe from me..."

PS MM I'm not trying to detract from your topic, honest - it's the familiarity and informality of the use of "Abba!" that interests me.
I didn't realise that Tyndale used such a really familiar form! .... although I'm not really surprised, knowing Tyndale's story.

And I don't think you're detracting from the thread because that was what I was basically driving at. That is: in a period (late 1500s/early 1600s) when people on a regular basis were still quite astute to all the subtleties of the thou/you distinction, and remembering that 'The Word of God', as manifest in the Bible, had only quite recently been translated into their vernacular language, and against a background of rising Lutherism,  ... were people really comfortable with the use of the familiar when addressing God, and if so why? And when such language came to be enshrined in the KJV, was it just because pedantic Hebrew/Greek scholars insisted on slavishly following ancient precedents for the use of the singular when referring to "the one God" ....  or was it because of some other theological point, such that when one prays one is in a unique one-to-one relationship with God? Or indeed does all this reflect an historical shift arising from society's changing relationship with God .... the rise of protestantism and humanism, and all that?
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Sun 24 Nov 2013, 16:57

Don't know if this is relevant, MM, but John Donne (who came from a Catholic family, but who became a Church of England cleric) uses both you and thou to address God in his Holy Sonnets.


Holy Sonnets I: Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay? (written c. 1609- 1611)

Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste,
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday;
I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it t'wards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour I can myself sustain;
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.


Holy Sonnet XIV Batter my heart, three-person'd God (written c.1609).

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

No time at the moment, but back tomorrow hopefully - must ferret out more about this!
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 09:11

Luther uses the "du" rather than the formal "Sie" - and he wasn't one for sticking by the rules of grammar or of anything else. He had gone out into the marketplaces to listen to how ordinary people really spoke. Presumably ordinary people then used the informal form when addressing God in their prayers or in thinking about Him, and Luther didn't shock the German people with this. They would know nothing of Hebrew and/or Greek grammar and a need for a scholar to be careful regarding translating pronouns: it must just have sounded right.

... und sprach: Abba, mein Vater, es ist dir alles möglich; überhebe mich dieses Kelchs; doch nicht, was ich will, sondern was du willst!


To help him in translating into contemporary German, Luther would make forays into neaby towns and markets to listen to people speaking. He wanted to ensure their comprehension by translating as closely as possible to their contemporary language usage. (Only Wiki, I'm afraid.)

Peter, however, addresses Jesus as "Sie". Must read a bit more. (By the way I was wrong above when I said Jesus uses thee to Satan: he was actually speaking to the unfortunate Simon Peter when he said, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

In the Book of Job, 1: 8-12 Luther's God and Satan address each other as "du". This sounds very strange to me, in a way the thou and thee of the KJV do not. They sound far too - well, friendly with each other - your point exactly, MM.  


1:8 Der HERR sprach zu Satan: Hast du nicht achtgehabt auf meinen Knecht Hiob? Denn es ist seinesgleichen nicht im Lande, schlecht und recht, gottesfürchtig und meidet das Böse.

1:9 Der Satan antwortete dem HERRN und sprach: Meinst du, daß Hiob umsonst Gott fürchtet?

1:10 Hast du doch ihn, sein Haus und alles, was er hat, ringsumher verwahrt. Du hast das Werk seiner Hände gesegnet, und sein Gut hat sich ausgebreitet im Lande.

1:11 Aber recke deine Hand aus und taste an alles, was er hat: was gilt's, er wird dir ins Angesicht absagen?

1:12 Der HERR sprach zum Satan: Siehe, alles, was er hat, sei in deiner Hand; nur an ihn selbst lege deine Hand nicht. Da ging der Satan aus von dem HERRN.


Cranmer of course uses thou and thee in the 1549 first Book of Common Prayer. Lots of dispute over his theology, but not over his pronouns, as far as I know. John Knox once harangued a congregation for over three hours on the iniquity of kneeling at Communion - I don't know if he ever delivered a hellfire homily against the incorrect use of pronouns in prayer - will try and find out more.


Wycliffe uses the informal form too;  here's his Lord's Prayer, c. 1390.

Our fadir that art in heuenes, halwid be thi name; Thi kingdom cumme to; be thi wille donas in heuen and in earthe; giv to vs this day our breed ouer other substaunce; and forgene to vs oure dettis, as we forgeue to oure dettours; and leede us nat in to temptacioun, but delyuere vs fro yuel.

What a lovely, earthy English feel that has.

This is a terribly muddled message which reflects my confusion over all this - just random thoughts really. I don't think you mind random ramblings, MM, so will still send.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 12:17

Just read the thread again more carefully and have realised:

I) nordmann has already mentioned Luther;

2) I don't know what I'm talking about. (Embarassed)
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 12:49

Oh Temp!

If we knew what we were talking about we wouldn't be here at all!  BouncyHappy BouncyHappy 

But I think the question that's worth asking is not "Why did these guys use a construct socially reserved for familiarity or to indicate speech addressed to people of lesser status?" but instead "What would it have meant had they insisted on using the formal tone?".

Privately every single one of them - Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale, the KJV committee - might have ground their teeth every time they employed the familiar pronoun. However the alternative would have been a break from ecclesiastic tradition that would have bordered on ultimate heresy - redefining the relationship between the individual and god, and what's more redefining it in a manner so overtly revolutionary in that it would have given cart-blanche to everyone else to do the same. None of these guys was interested in furthering the case for splinter groups. Every single man jack of them was attempting to show that the vernacular version was just as binding theologically as the Latin version and that it had never been the bible that was at fault before but all the extraneous stuff devised by Rome, including the rule that no one could read the book in their native language. The whole point therefore was to replicate the original, familiarity and all, and not make any bold theological points at the same time.

The King James Version was a response to the fact that in less than a century about fifteen different English translations had emerged - some good, some bad, but none the same. It was conformity that the king wanted so his version even more than any other before it was the least likely to screw around with theological dynamite. In fact some of the more sublime passages in that version - indeed some of the best English ever written - arose when the authors were studiously avoiding making any statement that could be construed as a theological departure and were obliged to phrase the passage in a manner that pre-empted any such accusation afterwards. It is not often one is asked to arrive at a phrase that is both succinct and obscure, as they often had to do. This raised their prose to great heights indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 14:32

But Luther and Tyndale did muck about a bit with the text when it suited them, I think?

Didn't Luther  sneak the  dynamite little word "allein" into Romans 3:28?

When it was pointed out to him that there was actually no "sola" in the Greek or Latin accepted versions, he blasted back:

“If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: "Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing." …For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these blockheads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.”




28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ("Alone" carefully omitted by the KJV scholars. Tyndale missed it out, too.)

3:28 So halten wir nun dafür, daß der Mensch gerecht werde ohne des Gesetzes Werke, allein durch den Glauben.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 14:53

Well so did the KJV people, if by "muck about" you mean when one is faced with the dilemma of every translator that the current semantic interpretation cannot be honoured by literal translation. Remember, they stuck with the "Forgive them, father ..." rather than the "Forgive them, daddy ..." for just that reason too. No matter what theological price might be paid it was less than the risk of thousands of congregations sniggering when they first heard the words in English. The more recent translators of the Latin mass into English seem to have missed this important point when they placed "Thanks be to God!" into the mouths of congregations when the priest tells them "The mass is over ...".

I am not saying that people didn't take liberties. Of course they did - that was one reason King James was persuaded to back an initiative to rein in all the versions then rampant. However all who translated the bible into whatever tongue seem to have shared one thing - regardless of their varied competence or intent they all assumed they were handling the word of god and whatever alterations to the standard they might want to stick in they felt (like Luther) they could justify it and, as they say back home, f*ck the begrudgers!

The sad examples you've provided from your young curate's "Message" publication would seem to indicate that the notion that this is all God's stuff has now been theologically abandoned. It's almost as if they feel that it has all gone out of copyright (quite old, you know) so no holds are any longer barred when it comes to mangling it. But the original translators, for all their faults, were to their credit treating it like a bomb disposal expert carrying a phial of nitro-glycerine and it shows. What amazes me in fact is that when one looks at the different versions produced at the time how uniform they managed to keep it. A word or phrase here or there might have gone up its own arse but there's no passage mangled out of recognition and the general theological thrust of each piece is that which we all know regardless of which tongue we speak (or at least those of us who are fortunate to have existed pre-Message), itself proof of their fantastic achievement, even before the KJV.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 15:01

On the Yorkshire dialect point, I think it's fair to say that the old distinctions between "you" and "thou" are not widely understood Oop North any more.  What one tends to hear is a catch-all "tha", which covers all bases, even if most speakers aren't aware that there are bases as want coverin', like.

In these parts (and also in Merseyside), one can also hear "yous" being used as the plural form.  Particularly prominent in what passes for our urban zones - Carlisle, Barrow and the old industrial towns of West Cumbria.

Regards,

AR
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 15:02

Didn't the team that put together KJV also sneak in a few little bits of dynamite too?  ... such as Exodus 22:18:

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" .... as the definitive version of a phrase which could be interpreted as:

"Thou shalt not suffer, to live amongst you, a witch (the exact word may also mean poisoner) who performs witchcraft for evil purposes". ... with no specific demand for the death sentence.

But James VI was particularly twitchy about witchcraft so doubtless he approved of the final wording.


EDIT : Crossed posts.

Yes AR, my friend from Scotland, though not exactly sure where, ... she also uses yous as the plural of you.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 25 Nov 2013, 15:34

Thomas More declared that Tyndale's translation was not honest - Tyndale was  "a hell-hound in the kennel of the devil...discharging a filthy foam of blasphemies out of his brutish, beastly mouth." More to the point, More declared that the Tyndale translation was "full of errors as the sea is of water" and much of it was "wilfully mistranslated...to deceive blind unlearned people."

Actually, although he wouldn't admit it, More was exaggerating: his wrath (and Tunstall's) rested on Tyndale's deliberate mistranslation of three rather important words: congregation for church, elder for priest and love for charity. But, surprisingly, Tyndale (as mentioned above), did leave out the crucial word "alone" from Romans - perhaps he was a little more honest than the German monk.

"Tyndall after Luthers counsayl corrupted and changed it from the good and wholesome doctrine of Christ to the devilishe heresyes of thwir own, that it was cleane a contrary thing."

But it was really the "pestilent glosses" in the margins that had so infuriated More.

But how More, Luther and Tyndale argued and hurled insults at one another over all this - far nastier than my little spats with the Curate. I wonder how heated the debates got at Hampton Court - those dangerously trendy Puritans v. the more conservative (and gentlemanly?) C of E clerics? And I wonder how much James himself contributed to the discussions? He rather fancied himself as a theologian, I believe?
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Tue 26 Nov 2013, 00:32

Interesting (to me anyway) to compare the Wycliffe Lord's prayer with the Old English version.

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum;
Si þin nama gehalgod
to becume þin rice
gewurþe ðin willa
on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg
and forgyf us ure gyltas
swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum
and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge
ac alys us of yfele soþlice
(note: the old english "þ" is pronounced "th")

Translation of Old English Text
Father our thou that art in heavens
be thy name hallowed
come thy kingdom
be-done thy will
on earth as in heavens
our daily bread give us today
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those-who-have-sinned-against-us
and not lead thou us into temptation
but deliver us from evil. truly
(other versions exist - and other renderings in Modern English, too, particularly for soþlice. I note that the originator explains only the hard "th" letter - thorn, and makes no mention of the softer "eth" [ð] also used.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Tue 26 Nov 2013, 09:37

I hope posters and readers interested in this topic will find this article useful. Alister McGrath (former Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford) confirms what nordmann has said.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/06/10/3240698.htm

Here is the section of his article which relates to the OP:


The English spoken by William Tyndale in the 1520s differed significantly from that spoken in London in the 1610s. The passage of time across these two generations brought about significant changes in written and spoken English.

In certain respects, Tyndale's English would have sounded more than a little archaic at the court of St. James in 1611. Yet Bancroft's translation rules had the (presumably) unintended effect of locking the six companies of translators into many of the verbal habits of earlier generations. As a result, Tyndale's English remained a presence in every subsequent English translation of the Bible.

A set of rules designed to ensure ecclesial conservatism appears to have had the accidental consequence of maintaining linguistic conservatism as well.

Personal pronouns are a case in point. Since the thirteenth century, the terms "thou," "thee," "ye," and "you" had come to denote not merely the singular and plural second person, but complex socially constructed degrees of familiarity and distance.

Middle English adopted to some extent the French distinction between "tu" and "vous," in which the singular form "tu" is used by those of higher social status to address those of lower social status, and the plural form "vous" is employed in formal address or by those of lower social status to address those of higher social status.

Although this convention is not used entirely consistently in Middle English texts, it indicates the complex interaction of linguistic and social factors in the shaping of English at this period.

By the end of the sixteenth century, however, the forms "thou," "thee," and "thy" were in decline. In Shakespeare's Richard III (1591), the singular or plural form "you" is used 379 times in conversations which cross social and class boundaries between commoners, nobility, and royalty. The older forms were nevertheless retained in the King James Version, despite clear shifts in the patterns of written and spoken English.

Even by the standards of 1610, the continued use of such forms would have been seen as slightly archaic.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Fri 06 Dec 2013, 09:47

I read about this subject on Wikipedia - they alluded to Dr Johnson - he of dictionary fame.  Now they said something about "thou" being retained in Lichfield to this day. Quote from Wikipedia. "In the 18th century, Samuel Johnson, in A Grammar of the English Tongue, wrote: "in the language of ceremony ... the second person plural is used for the second person singular", implying that the second person singular was still in everyday use. By contrast, The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage says that for most speakers of southern British English, thou had fallen out of everyday use, even in familiar speech, by sometime around 1650.[11] Thou persisted in a number of religious, literary and regional contexts, and those pockets of continued use of the pronoun tended to undermine the obsolescence of the T-V distinction. (Samuel Johnson himself was born and raised not in the south of England, but in Lichfield, Staffordshire, where the usage of thou persists until the present day, see below, so it is not surprising that he would consider it entirely ordinary, and describe it as such, as he indeed does in his grammar. This would seem to resolve the apparent contradiction above.)"


I don't think so.  I live in the county of Staffordshire (different town though) and have yet to hear a local person say "thou" unless it's in jest or in a bible reading or an expression like "What ails thee?"  A personal sadness about the loss of the singular form is the genesis of the plural form "You guys" even for women.  That is one Americanism that really rankles with me.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Fri 06 Dec 2013, 17:36

Lichfield is about the limit of North Staffs / Potteries accent, so it would be unwise to dismiss a local peculiarity if you are basing your "Staffordshire" accent on anywhere south or west of it. Actually, the one area where "tha" rather than "thee" or "thou" can still be heard in the West Midlands is around Gornal, even there, like the "me wench" usage, it's pretty much only the older folk that use it.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 09 Dec 2013, 08:51

Gilgamesh, I know a lady who lives in Armitage (between Rugeley and Lichfield) so I'll ask her about this topic next time I see her.  I'm based in Mid-Staffordshire.  I've heard "wench" in Coseley and thereabouts along with "you am" "they am" - usually shortened to "you'm" or "they'm".  Some people in Staffordshire say "her went" rather than "she went".  The story which  is still told about Gornal (which you are probably familiar with Gilgamesh) is that people used to "stand the pig on the wall to watch the Lord Mayor walk by".
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 09 Dec 2013, 22:04

@nordmann wrote:
The old Greek texts of New Testament scripture used the familiar/informal version, yes. And again this would appear to reflect a theological dilemma regarding how much distance should be implied between the speaker and their god.

I assume modern Greek retains this as the distinction between formal and informal address is breaking down anyway. ID?

Found this online - the Lord's Prayer in its original rendition with translation. Note "sou" as the adjectival pronoun form.

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
Pater hêmôn ho-en toes ouranoes [Pater imon o-entis uranis ]
Our Father who art in heaven

ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou [Haiastheeto to onomasoo ]
hallowed be your Name

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
elthetô hê basileia sou [eltheto ee vasileea soo ]
Thy kingdom come

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου,
genêthêtô to thelêma sou [Kenaytheeto to thelimasoo ]
Let there be thy will

ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês [os en orano kai epitis gis ]
as in heaven on earth

τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron [Ton arton imon ton epioosion dos imin simeron ]
the bread of substance/existence give us daily

καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, [Kaiafes imin ta ofilaymata imon]
And forgive us our trespasses/sins

ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn; [os kaimees afiemen tois ofiletes imon]
as we forgive those who trespass/sin against us

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmôn, [kai mi isenengkes imas is pirasmon]
and lead us not into temptation

ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou. [alla rusa imas apo too poniroo. ]
but deliver us from evil.

ἀμήν.
Amen

Nordmann,

in Dutch it is quite complicated as one has a Dutch and a Belgian Roman-Catholic Lord's prayer and several Dutch Protestant ones...
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onzevader
But they have all! the courtesy form "U" (you), contrary to the Latin "tuus" (thy).
Perhaps were the Dutch more respectful to their Lord...?

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 09 Dec 2013, 22:08

Addendum to the previous message;
And I forgot in French it is as in Latin "tu" (thy) and "ta volonté"...
Regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Thee thous them as thous thee!   Mon 09 Dec 2013, 22:40

@Meles meles wrote:
In modern English the second person nominative, whether singular or plural, is you and this is used regardless of whether one is addressing a servant, a lover, a parent, or a monarch. In archaic English, and still in some regional dialects, the plural is you while the singular is thou (with the accusative thee and the possessive thy and thine). But, like the French tu/vous distinction, one should not use the singular form when addressing someone of higher rank, unless one is being deliberately insulting.

Shakespeare, in whose time thou was still in normal use, uses the distinctions well, as in the exchange between Clarence and his murderers in Richard III. They initially refer to him using the formal you while he uses thou to them individually and you when addressing them together. But then, when they are disparaging him they change to using thou. He scorns them using thou, tries pleading his case using you and finally begs for his life, appealing to common humanity, again using thou.

Today thou still exists in some English dialects, such as in Yorkshire, where the put down to a youngster that addresses an elder or better as thou might be:
"Thee thous them as thous thee, and not afore, si'thee lad!". But probably the only other places where thou is still likely to be encountered is the King James Bible and The book of Common Prayer, eg The Lord’s Prayer (as I was taught it): "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy will be done, thy kingdom come, …"

So, this is my question:

Why does one address the Lord God using the familiar thou? Was the Greek and Hebrew translated thus to indicate the personal one-to-one relationship with God, or to emphasis God’s role as a heavenly father? In the preamble to the KJB James VI is always formally addressed using you, but in the text God is always addressed as thou. He Himself always correctly uses thou to individuals: Adam, Abraham, Moses, and in the commandments ie to each person individually, and He only uses you to address people en masse, eg. the Hebrews.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly simple explanation, but if a Yorkshire farm lad still can’t address an old gaffer using the familiar thou, why was it officially declared that the proper way to address "The Lord thy God", was using thou?

Meles Meles,

"In modern English the second person nominative, whether singular or plural, is you and this is used regardless of whether one is addressing a servant, a lover, a parent, or a monarch. In archaic English, and still in some regional dialects, the plural is you while the singular is thou (with the accusative thee and the possessive thy and thine). But, like the French tu/vous distinction, one should not use the singular form when addressing someone of higher rank, unless one is being deliberately insulting"
The French tu/vous distinction, similar in German with the Du/Sie distinction.
And in Dutch it was the "jij" (thy) distinction with the courtesy form "U" (you). But I have the impression that in modern Dutch one makes no distinction anymore and uses always "jij".

I have always difficulties in foreign languages as I am mostly inclined to use the courtesy form. In our dialects it is quite complicated as there is no distinction (or perhaps we can't speak in dialect to a higher rank person Wink )
In the County of Flanders you have two main dialects: East-Flemish and West-Flemish.
In the West we say: "je hebt gij", in the East: "ge hebt gij" ("thy" hast "thy"), but for the possesive form "yours" in the West "youn" (thy) and in the East "U" (you). (I have some difficulties as I can't give the right Dutch dialect pronunciation)

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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