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Thee, Thou, Thine......


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Wikipedia actually has a good article on this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou

From the article:

In standard modern English, thou continues to be used only in formal religious contexts, in literature that seeks to reproduce archaic language, and in certain fixed phrases such as "holier than thou" and "fare thee well". For this reason, many associate the pronoun with solemnity or formality, connotations at odds with the word's history.
Edited by William Schryver
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You may view prayer as you wish.

I will only add that, when praying in Italian, one does not use the second person respectful form of "lei," but rather the second person familiar form of "tu." But when one speaks to a stranger on the street, one would employ the "lei" form, rather than "tu," which one would employ when speaking to a friend or family member. As missionaries, we were counseled to always use the "lei" form when speaking with young women, in order to maintain a respectful distance between us and them. (I confess, however, that I frequently violated that counsel. ;) )

I served a Spanish mission. Same basic principle - when you speak to family, friends, and to God, you use the same familiar word: Tu, whereas when you spoke to others to distance yourself from them (as a token of respect), you used Usted. (Business relationships, older non-family members, dignitaries, etc) - This distinction, however, breaks down in English, where we no longer have a difference in the familiar and distanced.

The pattern we teach in Spanish is to speak to God using the same language you speak with your family. What is to them the intimate language.

When we force use of an archaic use of a term to mean familiar, and you don't use it that way in any other familiar conversation outside the context of prayer, it becomes silly to protest and say, "No no, we use Thou because it's the familiar, like Tu in spanish!", when we actually, as Americans, use "Usted" (You) to talk to our families and intimate friends.

To regular Americans today, in the English we actually use today, thee thou and thine is not associated with intimate familial relationships. It creates a distance, and disassociates the language of prayer from the language of family.

Edited by nackhadlow
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I served a Spanish mission. Same basic principle - when you speak to family, friends, and to God, you use the same familiar word: Tu, whereas when you spoke to others to distance yourself from them (as a token of respect), you used Usted. (Business relationships, older non-family members, dignitaries, etc) - This distinction, however, breaks down in English, where we no longer have a difference in the familiar and distanced.

The pattern we teach in Spanish is to speak to God using the same language you speak with your family. What is to them the intimate language.

When we force use of an archaic use of a term to mean familiar, and you don't use it that way in any other familiar conversation outside the context of prayer, it becomes silly to protest and say, "No no, we use Thou because it's the familiar, like Tu in spanish!", when we actually, as Americans, use "Usted" (You) to talk to our families and intimate friends.

To regular Americans today, in the English we actually use today, thee thou and thine is not associated with intimate familial relationships. It creates a distance, and disassociates the language of prayer from the language of family.

Well, I'm not going to pursue this discussion with you further, since it is apparent that you are simultaneously belligerent about it as well as ignorant concerning the history of your own language.

For those who would like to further their understanding of these things, I highly recommend the wikipedia article I linked above. It gives a very good summary explanation of the archaic second person singular familiar form in English. The objective "you" form merely assumed the nominative form as well.

ETA: It is not correct to say that we use the English equivalent of the "usted" form to talk to our families and intimate friends. If that were true, we would use "ye" instead.

Edited by William Schryver
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when praying in Italian, one does not use the second person respectful form of "lei," but rather the second person familiar form of "tu."
Same basic principle [in Spanish] - when you speak to family, and to God, you use the same familiar word: Tu, whereas when you spoke to others to distance yourself from them (as a token of respect), you used Usted. (Business relationships, older non-family members, etc)

Well, not quite.

In Italian, the lei used for "thou" and loro used for "you" (derived from the Latin indefinite masculine definite aritcles since Latin had no personal pronouns), are the third person ("he" and "they") pronouns, while the Spanish tu and Usted (and French tu and vous) are the second person pronouns.

Edited by LeSellers
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Well, not quite.

In Italian, the lei used for "thou" and loro used for "you" (derived from the Latin indefinite masculine definite aritcles since Latin had no personal pronouns), are the third person ("he" and "they") pronouns, while the Spanish tu and Usted (and French tu and vous) are the second person pronouns.

I'm afraid you're mistaken, "lei" is used for both the second person singular "respectful" and the third person singular in Italian. "Loro" is always the third person plural.

ETA: The second person plural "voi" is also used as the second person singular in cases such as speaking to royalty, or the president, etc.

Edited by William Schryver
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There's a bit of a logic problem.

  • The Church teaches that God is our loving Father, and we should view Him as we do our loving earthly parents, and speak to him with such candor.
  • Out of respect, we should therefore use archaic English pronouns when we talk to God.
  • It follows, therefore, that we should use archaic English pronouns to talk to our own earthly parents.

Do you know any Mormons who use archaic English to speak to their close, intimate earthly family members, or who would associate archaic english with how you talk to family? There's a disconnect here...

The use of what some call an "archaic" form of English is used to show a certain type of respect for our Father in heaven when we pray to him as a distinguishing feature in those communications which are unlike any other communications we have with anyone else.

We don't bow down when we talk/converse/pray with anyone other than God, either, except for maybe a king or queen as a sign of courtesy and respect for their position, so the fact that we bow down (or are advised to bow down) should give you a clue that we're doing something a little different when talking to GOD!!!

And yeah, I know, he is our Father, but he is also GOD too!!!

Emphasis added because I can't believe your head is so thick that you can't relate to this concept, my dear brother.

Edited by Ahab
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The use of what some call an "archaic" form of English is used to show a certain type of respect for our Father in heaven when we pray to him as a distinguishing feature in those communications which are unlike any other communications we have with anyone else.

We don't bow down when we talk/converse/pray with anyone other than God, either, except for maybe a king or queen as a sign of courtesy and respect for their position, so the fact that we bow down (or are advised to bow down) should give you a clue that we're doing something a little different when talking to GOD!!!

And yeah, I know, he is our Father, but he is also GOD too!!!

Emphasis added because I can't believe your head is so thick that you can't relate to this concept, my dear brother.

If my Dad was the President of the United States, when I was among those who were not his children, in public, I would address him as Mr. President. However, if I'm at a family gathering, or talking to him in person as my father, I'm calling him Dad.

I guess I relate more to a God who wants us to approach him intimately as I would a Father than distance myself from him as Sovereign Emperor Who Is Way Above Me.

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Well, not quite.

In Italian, the lei used for "thou" and loro used for "you" (derived from the Latin indefinite masculine definite aritcles since Latin had no personal pronouns), are the third person ("he" and "they") pronouns, while the Spanish tu and Usted (and French tu and vous) are the second person pronouns.

BTW, Latin does have personal pronouns. See here for a listing of them all: http://mylanguages.org/latin_pronouns.php

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I actually have felt closer to God by allowing myself to talk to Him like I would actually talk to an actual loving Father who loves me and cares for me, instead of talking to Him like a would an aloof king 600 years ago.

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Well, I'm not going to pursue this discussion with you further, since it is apparent that you are simultaneously belligerent about it as well as ignorant concerning the history of your own language.

??

This really has nothing to do with the history of language, it has to do with how language is currently and presently expressed, understood, and used by those using it. Meaning of language as used is not independent from personal understanding and intent.

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I'm afraid you're mistaken, "lei" is used for both the second person singular "respectful" and the third person singular in Italian. "Loro" is always the third person plural.

That ain't the way I lernt it.

Your second clause says the same thing I did: "lei" is the third person singular masculine (as I recall, unfortunately, my Italian is getting a bit rusty—I learned it in Naples some thirty-five years ago, and my instructor/models were Napolitani, not Fiorentini, so I may have picked up some local color—and there are not too many Italiani I can use it with in the Denver area; not that I'm looking too hard).

Essi/esse (masculine/feminine 'they") are the usual third person plural pronouns, but "loro" is used when referring to people of high rank, as well as for the second person plural for the same kinds of persons (relative to the speaker), when one wishes to demonstrate humility.

If I'm wrong, I apologize and appreciate the correction.

Lehi

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I actually have felt closer to God by allowing myself to talk to Him like I would actually talk to an actual loving Father who loves me and cares for me, instead of talking to Him like a would an aloof king 600 years ago.

Were one speaking to his own father 600 years ago in London, one would have employed the personal pronoun "thou," whereas if one were speaking to the king, one would have used the respectful "ye" instead.

(Is no one paying attention at all?!)

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If this is true, then I can see why you would be particularly careful to always use the second person singular familiar form "thou" in prayer. ;)

Except I use 21st Century American English, in which "thou" is archaic and deprecated, and "You" carries the same intimate meaning to me, and to my family. I don't think God is a pretentious grammar cop who holds us to archaic forms for the sake of intellectual superiority.

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You guys need to move to L.A.

It's an unusual Sunday when all the prayers in all the meetings are offered in English much less with all the thees and thous in place.

It must be nice to have time to worry about such trivia

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If my Dad was the President of the United States, when I was among those who were not his children, in public, I would address him as Mr. President. However, if I'm at a family gathering, or talking to him in person as my father, I'm calling him Dad.

If my Dad was the President of the United States, I would be addressing him as Mr. President whenever he was acting in his capacity as the President, or whenever I was asking something from him in his capacity as the President. Otherwise, when he was not acting in his capacity as the President, and was only acting in his capacity as my Father, I would then be calling him Dad.

At least you can see that to call him Dad all the time would not be a proper show of respect. +1 for you.

I guess I relate more to a God who wants us to approach him intimately as I would a Father than distance myself from him as Sovereign Emperor Who Is Way Above Me.

I relate to him in both capacities, too, but when addressing him in formal prayer I also recognize that I'm talking to God rather than just my Daddy.

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That ain't the way I lernt it.

Your second clause says the same thing I did: "lei" is the third person singular masculine (as I recall, unfortunately, my Italian is getting a bit rusty—I learned it in Naples some thirty-five years ago, and my instructor/models were Napolitani, not Fiorentini, so I may have picked up some local color—and there are not too many Italiani I can use it with in the Denver area; not that I'm looking too hard).

Essi/esse (masculine/feminine 'they") are the usual third person plural pronouns, but "loro" is used when referring to people of high rank, as well as for the second person plural for the same kinds of persons (relative to the speaker), when one wishes to demonstrate humility.

If I'm wrong, I apologize and appreciate the correction.

Lehi

With all due respect, I'm afraid you are wrong. And it isn't related to local usage. I was in Napoli just a few months ago, and used "lei" during a lengthy conversation with a gentleman in the train station. He reciprocated, as was appropriate. "Lei" is the second person singular formal and the third person singular form in Italian.

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Except I use 21st Century American English, in which "thou" is archaic and deprecated, and "You" carries the same intimate meaning to me, and to my family. I don't think God is a pretentious grammar cop who holds us to archaic forms for the sake of intellectual superiority.

As I said before, you are welcome to pray as you wish. I concur with you in that "I don't think God is a pretentious grammar cop who holds us to archaic forms for the sake of intellectual superiority." I don't believe anyone has suggested that He is.

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With all due respect, I'm afraid you are wrong. And it isn't related to local usage. I was in Napoli just a few months ago, and used "lei" during a lengthy conversation with a gentleman in the train station. He reciprocated, as was appropriate. "Lei" is the second person singular formal and the third person singular form in Italian.

Any difference between our understandings of the second person pronouns is in the use of "loro". not "lei".

I'll just nod and drop it.

Lehi

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If my Dad was the President of the United States, I would be addressing him as Mr. President whenever he was acting in his capacity as the President, or whenever I was asking something from him in his capacity as the President. Otherwise, when he was not acting in his capacity as the President, and was only acting in his capacity as my Father, I would then be calling him Dad.

So there's a time when you don't approach God in the capacity as your Dad, and the Dad of all humanity? I think notes a difference in our approach to prayer. Which is fine, but just worthy of note in the discussion and our expression of what prayer is.

At least you can see that to call him Dad all the time would not be a proper show of respect. +1 for you.

I noted the only time it would perhaps not be appropriate would be in the presence of those who were not also his children. I know of no occasions where that would apply.

Edited by nackhadlow
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If my Dad was the President of the United States, I would be addressing him as Mr. President whenever he was acting in his capacity as the President, or whenever I was asking something from him in his capacity as the President. Otherwise, when he was not acting in his capacity as the President, and was only acting in his capacity as my Father, I would then be calling him Dad.

At least you can see that to call him Dad all the time would not be a proper show of respect. +1 for you.

I relate to him in both capacities, too, but when addressing him in formal prayer I also recognize that I'm talking to God rather than just my Daddy.

Well said.

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Were one speaking to his own father 600 years ago in London, one would have employed the personal pronoun "thou," whereas if one were speaking to the king, one would have used the respectful "ye" instead.

(Is no one paying attention at all?!)

My point was, I am not living 600 years in the past, I am living now, in 2011. And talking to Heavenly Father like, well, a father, suits me well enough. I don't think I need to use stuffy archaic English to have a spiritual moment with Him.

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As I said before, you are welcome to pray as you wish. I concur with you in that "I don't think God is a pretentious grammar cop who holds us to archaic forms for the sake of intellectual superiority." I don't believe anyone has suggested that He is.

I guess where we disagree is that you find the archaic form and understanding of the language still relevant and useful in modern common expressed English speech and expressed thought, and I have not seen a reason to see that being the case as things stand, or why it should be authoritatively imposed on the Modern English Speaking Church by its leadership.

Edited by nackhadlow
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