The Resurgence of the Thorn and Thou
The English language is full of words with double meanings or usages. We, as a people, rely on one word to mean many things and sometimes replace a word. This may lead to confusion, and in some cases will be grammatically incorrect.
When learning another language, the English-speaking student may realize that his or her tongue lacks the second-person, singular, informal pronoun that he or she will use many a time in the language he or she attempts to learn. In French, par example, the English-speaker will recognize “vous” and “tu” as separate entities and translate the former as “you all” and the latter as “you.” To tell this English-speaker that he or she does not know his or her own language is both rude and true.
The idea that the creators of a constantly evolving language without restraint or regulation and a word for almost anything the common man may come across would simply overlook one of the most-used pronouns in the English language, is preposterous. The forefathers of our language made provisions for such things, the word for the second-person, plural, formal pronoun is “you.” The problem we have is not with the plural, it is with the singular: “thou.”
“Thou” has been the correct singular informal form of “you” since the inception of the language we would recognize as English. To use “thou,” one must only alter the verb used with “thou.” When using the word, the following verb must end in a “t” and is usually, but not always, preceded by an “s.” (‘Hast thou finished?’ or ‘How art thou?’) These are not very difficult alterations to make to one’s vocabulary. Trying to imagine the correct agreement of a verb can be fun and creative. (Try conjugating “Have you any time” and “You finished quickly” into the correct “thou” form.)
Besides the immediate and frivolous effects of using thou, such as making thou soundest all too astute, it also clarifies speech. Addressing a group as “Hello You,” and then speaking to an individual by declaring “How art thou?” will leave no room for confusion.
However, there are some basic “thou” facts thou should knowest. Firstly, “thou” is informal and singular. This means that if thou wantest to address someone important or socially above thou, thou shalt use “you.” Thou shalt also use “you” to address a group. Secondly, the possessive of “thou” is thy or thine. Thy precedes a consonant, thine precedes a vowel sound. Thirdly, thou shalt consider the thorn. The thorn is a letter that, like thou, wilted from under-use. Thorn, (þ), takes the place of the “th” sound. It, along with many other combined-sound letters, will shorten thy writing. ”I wish that I had more things in this space” becomes “I wish þt I had more þings in þs space.” and so forth.
I challenge thou to usest these forms of words in regular speech, havest some fun with it, be’st creative. In order to simplify our lives, sometimes we need not look to the future but take note of the past.