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From Geoff Howard <coc...@leverageweb.com>
Subject Re: [OT] languages (was: Users list moderators)
Date Wed, 04 Feb 2004 12:23:13 GMT
Conal Tuohy wrote:

> 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"!

Interestingly enough, I recently heard that "thou" used to be more 
informal than "you" when they were in simultaneous use - don't know how 
reliable the source was.

Geoff


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