Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. I love the autumn, and I love spooky stuff, and I love dressing up, so this is pretty much my favorite holiday.

I’m going to a dinner party tonight, so this should help contribute to the meal!

Should be delicious!

(The video released by the talented singer behind this arrangement is here, with a download link if you want an mp3. I used this one instead so my blog wouldn’t be filled with spoilers to Pan’s Labyrinth.)

I like that the song uses “thee”. I realize this was because the witches in the movie speak Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, and the part I like is probably coincidence, but it’s still cool. During the 17th century, “thee”, “thou” and the like was a familiar form while “you” was formal. So one would say “you” to a boss or while being polite to a stranger, and “thee” to friends or family… or to tasty children you’re trying to get to trust you with the help of a little magic.

(Before that use, “thou” and its family were singular while “you” and “ye” were plural. Here’s a handy chart.)

It makes me a little sad to think that English society got so stiff and formal that the formal word eclipsed the familiar one. I imagine that happening in a very sad way, people with such a stick up their ass that they never relax and speak comfortably, even to their own children. Who then grow up using the formal word exclusively, because that’s all they’ve ever known.

Strangely, we’ve sort of reversed that now. Because “thou” is old we tend to think of it as a more formal term, and that makes for some weird uses in modern fiction. And that’s okay, we should make our fantasy worlds in our own ways.

To be honest, I’d kind of like to bring “thou” and company back to contrast “you”, either in the medieval singular/plural use or the Shakespearean familiar/formal, partly because I like the way they sound, but mostly because it gets monotonous using “you” for everything second-person.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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