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From Conal Tuohy <con...@paradise.net.nz>
Subject RE: [OT] languages (was: Users list moderators)
Date Wed, 04 Feb 2004 09:25:30 GMT
Jorg and Joerg wrote:

> >> Dutch   |   German   |   English
> >> ik      |   ich      |   I
> >> kan     |   kann     |   can
> >> mijn    |   mein     |   my
> >> pdf     |   pdf      |   pdf
> >> niet    |   nicht    |   not
> >> openen  |   öffnen   |   open
> >>
> >> kunt    |   kannst   |   can
> >> u       |   du       |   you
> >> mij     |   mir      |   me
> >> hierbij |   dabei    |   with it
> >> helpen  |   helfen   |   help
> >>
> > Correct! ("Können Sie" instead of "kannst du" but that's
> really minor
> > detail).
>
> Is it similar to the English "you can" where there is no difference
> between singular and plural? I thought about it and "kunt u"
> sounds more
> like the German singular.


English "you" = singular OR plural, but there is also an archaic singular
form "thou", though you can use it as a joke - every native English speaker
knows it. Like "vosotros" in Latin America.

So it would be more like the German:

Dutch   |   German   |   English

kunt    |   kannst   |   canst
u       |   du       |   thou

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou

I don't know why we lost "thou". But now in parts of the USA "you" is
strictly singular, and the correct plural would be "Can y'all help me open
my pdf?'. I'm not sure how widespread this usage is, though it's certainly
more common than "thou"!

Cheers!

Con




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