Are you sure that the transition from "my" conjugation in post #2 to yours happend before the time of Early Modern English and not during it? I´ve read they were used until the 16th century.By Early Modern English, do you mean Elizabethan English?
As far as I know, in present tense:
Ye/You are (I believe both were in use at the time - English was in a state of flux)
As far as I know, "We be" would be the subjunctive, "Be we killed, what of it?" (If we are killed, what of it?)
I'm pretty sure there was no "Ye beest" or "They beeth", although "thou beest" would be the informal second person subjunctive, I believe, and "he/she/it beeth" the same for third person singular.
I only know what I've picked up from reading Shakespeare and a few other things from that period.
I don't understand why they eliminated it, I think it would be useful to be able to distinguish between "you" singular and "you" plural!JamesM is right: the only difference from Present-day English was the existence of a second-person singular 'thou', with verb form 'art'.
I've never seen the forms "beest" or "beth" anywhere, including in Middle English. What is your source for these?I am
Thou art (informal singular)
Ye beest (formal singular or plural)
Ye (along with the colloquial youse) is still used in some dialects, Hiberno-English being (the main) one.
Be co-existed with are as a plural indicative verb in the 16th century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. From the etymology for the word be:Middle English did have various plural forms based on the 'sind' and 'be' roots, but the original poster asked about Early Modern English - all those variants were gone by then, except perhaps plain 'be'.
Tom McArthur, in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, uses for the beginning and the end of Early Modern English the dates c. 1450 to c. 1700, which would mean that for most of Early Modern English, are was not the present plural indicative form of the verb be.[E]arly in 16th c. are made its appearance in standard Eng., where it was regularly used by Tindale. Be continued in concurrent use till the end of the century (see Shakespeare, and Bible of 1611), and still occurs as a poetic archaism, as well as in certain traditional expressions and familiar quotations of 16th c. origin, as 'the powers that be."
Yes, I made an elementary error there.If "are" made its appearance in standard English early in the 16th century that would be around 1500. If it was in standard English then, it was one of the standard forms for most of the Early Modern English period, even though concurrent with "be" in a good portion of that time.
A search for "ye be" turns up the following indicative uses of be (presumably what the OED was referring to):I'm much more familiar with "you are" than "you be" in Shakespeare.
For example, from Twelfth Night:, Act IV, sc. ii:
"But tel(l) me true, are you not mad indeed, or do you but counterfeit."
Act IV, sc. i:
"And what can you say of me?"
"That you are a knave, a rogue, a rascal, a sluggard, a coward, a drunkard."
The Merchant of Venice, Act II, scene ii:
"Pray you, sire, stand up: I am sure you are not Launcelot, my boy."
"I cannot think you are my son."
"You are" is very common in Shakespeare; much more common than "you be".
"You be" seems to be used in a subjunctive way:
"...Nay, and you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to." Much Ado About Nothing, Act V, sc. i)
"I'll have no father, if you be not he" (As You Like it, Act V, sc. iv)
I can't easily find an example of "you be" in Shakespeare that is not "if you be" or "and you be" ("and you be", to me, is "and (even) if you are" in modern English).
I deliberately avoided the question of whether those examples of his were subjunctive (to me, for example, "I'll have no father, if you be not he," contains no subjunctive) and chose to present only an example where ye be does not appear in an if clause (there is at least one). In the example I gave, however, I don't see how it can be anything other than indicative.Wouldn't that be subjunctive too, Ray, as in James's "an you be"/"if you be" examples?
|1st person singular||I||me||my/mine|
|2nd person singular||thou||thee||thy/thine|
|3rd person singular||he/she/it||him/her||his/hers|
|1st person plural||we||us||our/ours|
|2nd person plural||ye||you||your/yours|
|3rd person plural||they||them||their/theirs|
From page 83 of Shakespeare's Grammar by Jonathan Hope:Just to clear up a point that someone brought up; they said that both "you" and "ye" were in use, and implied that they were interchangeable. This may seem to be so, but my understanding is that "ye" is in the nominative case, and "you" is in the accusative case.
As noted above, Old English made a strict case distinction between ye and you, with ye nominative (subject) and you accusative (object). In general use, this distinction had completely broken down by the Early Modern period, and the two forms seem to be interchangeable. The 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible misrepresents 'real' seventeenth-century English, since the translators followed Tyndale (1534) in distinguishing the forms....
You just have to read the rest of the entry (either the version you quoted, or the 3rd edition entry that has been published in the meantime):The editors of the OED clearly think be is used instead of are somewhere in Shakespeare and the King James Bible. If not in my example (and/or in some of the if clauses!), there what did the editors have in mind?