Merry Andrew wrote:
Words fail me. I'm still trying to figure out why there is no word for the 2nd person singular pronoun in English. Most other languages have it.
Is this some kind of obscure joke?
Second person singular pronouns: subjective=thou; objective=thee; possessive=thy, thine.
He, she, it hath
It's not used any longer, but believe me, there is one, and it was used as recently as the nineteenth century. Members of the Society of Friends ("Quakers") used it until quite late in the nineteenth century, at which point, i suppose, they gave themselves a dispensation for it.
It was traditionally used in addressing the deity ("My Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?"), and, at least technically, ought to have been used to address the monarch in English, just as would have been the case in French. The problem the Normans ran into, is that the Anglo-Saxon used the second person singular in it's intuitive sense--to address another individual directly. So, to make distinction, which distinction was considered important by the ascendancy, they required people to address members of the baronage with the second person plural.
The Society of Friends adopted its used from the beginning, in the 17th century, as evidence of leveling. The common people still addressed one another with the second person singular, so "Quakers" addressed everyone, including
members of the baronage, that way. They continued the usage long after the everyday use of the second person singular had been abandoned by every other English speaker.