She Uban's Chronicles

We blog for edutainment!

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRONOUN “YOU” FROM OLD ENGLISH UNTIL MODERN ENGLISH

INTRODUCTION

In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun (including a noun phrase consisting of a single noun) with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. The replaced phrase is the antecedent of the pronoun. A pronoun used for the item questioned in a question is called an interrogative pronoun, such as who.

For example, consider the sentence “John gave the coat to Alice.” All three nouns in the sentence can be replaced by pronouns: “He gave it to her.” If the coat, John, and Alice have been previously mentioned, the listener can deduce what the pronouns he, it and her refer to and therefore understand the meaning of the sentence. However, if the sentence, “He gave it to her,” is the first presentation of the idea, none of the pronouns have antecedents, also called unprecursed pronouns, and each pronoun is therefore ambiguous.

Types of pronouns

Common types of pronouns found in the world’s languages are as follows:

A. Personal pronouns stand in place of the names of people or things:

1. Subjective pronouns are used when the person or thing is the subject of the sentence or clause. English example: I like to eat chips but she does not.

  • Second person formal and informal pronouns (T-V distinction). For example, vous and tu in French. There is no distinction in modern English, though Elizabethan English marked the distinction with “thou” (singular informal) and “you” (plural or singular formal).
  • Inclusive and exclusive “we” pronouns indicate whether or not the audience is included. There is no distinction in English.
  • Intensive pronouns re-emphasize a noun or pronoun that has already been mentioned. English uses the same forms as for the reflexive pronouns; for example: I did it myself (contrast reflexive use I did it to myself).

2. Objective pronouns are used when the person or thing is the object of the sentence or clause. English example: John likes me but not her.

  • Direct and indirect object pronouns. English uses the same forms for both; for example: Mary loves him (direct object); Mary sent him a letter (indirect object).
  • Reflexive pronouns are used when a person or thing acts on itself. English example: John cut himself.
  • Reciprocal pronouns refer to a reciprocal relationship. English example: They do not like each other.

3. Prepositional pronouns come after a preposition. No distinct forms exist in English; for example: Mary looked at him.

4. Disjunctive pronouns are used in isolation, or in certain other special grammatical contexts. No distinct forms exist in English; for example: Who does this belong to? Me.

5. Dummy pronouns are used when grammatical rules require a noun (or pronoun), but none is semantically required. English example: It is raining.

6. Weak pronouns.

B. Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession or ownership.

  • In strict sense, the possessive pronouns are only those that act syntactically as nouns. English example: Those clothes are mine.
  • Often, though, the term “possessive pronoun” is also applied to the so-called possessive adjectives (or possessive determiners). For example, in English: I lost my wallet. They are not strictly speaking pronouns because they do not substitute for a noun or noun phrase, and as such, some grammarians classify these terms in a separate lexical category called determiners (they have a syntactic role close to that of adjectives, always qualifying a noun).

C.  Demonstrative pronouns distinguish the particular objects or people that are referred to from other possible candidates. English example: I’ll take these.

D.  Indefinite pronouns refer to general categories of people or things. English example: Anyone can do that.

  • Distributive pronouns are used to refer to members of a group separately, rather than collectively. English example: To each his own.
  • Negative pronouns indicate the non-existence of people or things. English example: Nobody thinks that.

E.  Relative pronouns refer back to people or things previously mentioned. English example: People who smoke should quit now.

  • Indefinite relative pronouns have some of the properties of both relative pronouns and indefinite pronouns. They have a sense of “referring back”, but the person or thing to which they refer has not previously been explicitly named. English example: I know what I like.

F.  Interrogative pronouns ask which person or thing is meant. English example: Who did that?

  • In many languages (e.g., Czech, English, French, Interlingua, Russian) the sets of relative and interrogative pronouns are nearly identical. Compare English: Who is that? (interrogative) to I know who that is. (relative).

But in this discussion, we will not discuss about whole type of pronoun. We will discuss about the development of pronoun “You” from Old English period until Modern English period and the example of the using pronoun “You” in literature. This will be discussed in the next section deeply.

ANALYSIS

1. Pronoun “You” in Old English

Old English
Singular Plural
Case Formal Informal Formal Informal
Nominative þū ġē
Accusative þē / þeċ ēow / ēowiċ
Dative þē ēow
Genitive þīn ēower

2. Pronoun “You” in Middle English

Middle English
Singular Plural
Case Formal Informal Formal Informal
Nominative you thou you ye
Accusative thee you
Dative
Genitive your, yours thy, thine your, yours

3. Pronoun “You” in Early Modern English

Early Modern English
Singular Plural
Case Formal Informal Formal Informal
Nominative you thou you ye
Accusative thee you
Dative
Genitive Your, yours thy / thine Your, yours

4. Pronoun “You” in Modern English

Modern English
Singular Plural
Subject you you
Object you you
Reflexive yourself yourself
Genitive Your, yours Your, yours

EXAMPLE THE USING OF PRONOUN “YOU” IN LITERARY WORK

a. Old English

The text of The Lord’s Prayer:

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, Si þin nama gehalgod. To becume þin rice, gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.

b. Middle English

The poem lyric in The Legend of Good Woman by Geoffrey Chaucer:

For thy trespas, and understond hit here:Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere, The moste party of thy tyme spende In making of a glorious Legende Of Gode Wommen, maidenes and wyves,That weren trewe in lovinge al hir lyves; And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen

c. Early Modern English

The dialogue of Prince Henry to Falstaff in Henry IV by Shakespeare:

PRINCE: Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldest truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? …

d. Modern English

The dialogue of a play in Secret forgiven by Valerie A. Klaus:

MRS. GREER: Tell him soon. You don’t want to lose a man like that, he’s a keeper. He’ll deal with it, Kirsten.

WAITRESS/WAITER 1: Here you are, a Dr. Pepper here and a water here, am I right?

KIRSTEN: Yes, thanks.

WAITRESS/WAITER 1: Are you ready to order?

MRS. GREER: Yes, I’ll have the Oriental Salad, with the dressing on the side, and the chicken broiled.

CONCLUSSION

Pronoun “You” have developed along the development of English language period. It have a significant different in each period. As describe in the section above we can see the different of pronoun “You” in each period. Furthermore, to see the different of it in clearly, I will unite the using of pronoun “You” of each period in one table, as follow:

Old English Middle English Modern English
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Case Formal Informal Formal Informal Formal Informal Formal Informal Formal Informal Formal Informal
Nominative þū Ġē you thou you ye you
Accusative þē / þeċ ēow / ēowiċ thee you
Dative þē Ēow
Genitive þīn Ēower your, yours thy, thine your, yours your, yours

REFERENCES

A. Printing source

1. Baugh, Albert. C & Thomas Cable. 1994. A History of the English Language. Cornwall: TJ Press.

B. Digital source

1. Middle English Liric: Resources. www.luminarium.org. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

2. What is a pronoun?. http://www.arts.uottawa.ca/writcent/hypergrammar/pronouns.html. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

3. Pronoun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronoun. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

4. Old English Pronoun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_pronouns. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

5. Middle English Pronoun.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_English_personal_pronouns. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

6. Thou. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

7. The Legend of Good Women. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Good_Women. Retrieved on December 30th, 2008.

BY:

ARDIKA RIZKY SAPUTRI (A 320060313)

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

SCHOOL OF TEACHER TRAINING AND ADUCATION

MUHAMMADIYAH UNIVERSITY OF SURAKARTA

2009

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: