"Ye" is nominative.For the second-person pronouns, the forms were as follows (nominative, possessive, objective)
thou, thy/thine, thee
ye, your/yours, you
Also, will the auxiliary verb has a different form from the main verb:Ah. The verb "to be" had its own forms, as it still does.
Hm, this is interesting.Ye is still actively in use in the south and west of Ireland and it is indeed conjugated in the same manner as you is, i.e. ye are will often become "ye're", pronounced "yer".
Ye for plural, and you for singular, yes. Not all do of course, but a great many, probably a majority employ the distinction. My family (on my father's side) are from the west of Ireland and use "ye" (for the plural) as standard.Hm, this is interesting.
So people in south/west Ireland use Ye for plural and You for singular? or they use ye just in certain locutions?
I'm not entirely convinced about this.Ye is still actively in use in the south and west of Ireland and it is indeed conjugated in the same manner as you is, i.e. ye are will often become "ye're", pronounced "yer".
In the instances you cite there, I certainly agree, which can lead to a measure of confusion slipping in. However the use of ye as the plural form is definitely alive and well, my father, who is around the same age as yourself, uses it as such, though my mother, originally from right beside the border, markedly does not.I'm not entirely convinced about this.
It is my impression that this phenomenon is related to pronunciation, not to use of the archaic "ye".
Thus "yer man" is a local pronunciation of "your man".
And "Are ye right there Michael, are ye right", is a particular pronunciation of "you", not the archaic "ye".
And "Ye're talking nonsense, so ye are," is rightfully "You are talking nonsense, so you are."
I mean that no one would write these forms using "ye" unless they wished to present the pronunciation.
Outside quotations, they would write "you".
The use of "ye" as a polite singular was an artificial attempt to mimic the T-V distinction of French. It never truly caught on and led to a lot of confusion. This, in turn, eventually to "you" becoming the one and only (singular and plural, nomin. and obj.). See the KJV of the Bible, it pretty much sticks to thou as singular and ye as plural.I don't think anyone has explicitly pointed out that originally "thou/thee" was singular and "ye/you" was plural. The use of "ye/you" as a singular was respectful; in other words, English once had a T-V distinction--google it .
I hope you're not still confused after all this time, Loob, but I only now came across this old thread.The use of "ye" as a polite singular was an artificial attempt to mimic the T-V distinction of French. It never truly caught on and led to a lot of confusion.
I have been unable to find any evidence online that the use of ye/you as a polite singular "led to a lot of confusion." I think the best evidence that ye/you as a polite singular was once was well established is the sometimes violent treatment once given Quakers who used thou as part of their plain speech. Nowadays, non-Quakers may find the Quaker use of second-person pronouns to be curious, but they are not offended by it. But when Quakers first adopted plain speech, some were beaten for using thou because people were still aware of the former T-V distinction and were offended when they were addressed as thou. See pages 50 and 51 of Let Your Words Be Few: Symbolism and Silence among Seventeenth-Century Quakers by Richard Bauman:Poster Starfrown at #23 suggests that “English once had a T-V distinction” and makes the claim that “The use of "ye/you" as a singular was respectful;”
Lobo Solo at #24 makes the point that “The use of "ye" as a polite singular was an artificial attempt to mimic the T-V distinction of French. It never truly caught on and led to a lot of confusion.”
Furthermore, the Oxford English Dictionary has this to say on the matter, under its entry for you:Some years later, looking back on that early period, [George] Fox recalled that Friends were "in danger many times of our lives, and often beaten, for using those words to some proud men, who would say, 'Thou'st "thou" me, thou ill-bred clown,' as though their breeding lay in saying 'you' to a singular"....
After the Conquest, use of historically plural forms with singular reference, for reasons of showing respect, deference, or formality, is found from the 13th cent. onwards. . . n Britain, usage in Latin and French was a key influence. Such usage appears at first to have been particularly characteristic of courtly or upper-class speech, and to have spread gradually through other social strata. In late Middle English and in the 16th cent. a common pattern was that forms in th-were used towards social inferiors or children, or to others to mark either intimacy or contempt, but forms in y-were used in most other functions.
I'm not absolutely certain, but what I think happened was this:Erm ... I'm sorry, I don't see how Keith's post is an explanation of the comment [that] The use of "ye" as a polite singular was an artificial attempt to mimic the T-V distinction of French.
Your underthings, not thy underthings. Then after making love:'Have you left your underthings off?' he asked her.
'It isna horrid,' he said, 'even if tha thinks it is. An' tha canna ma'e it horrid. Dunna fret thysen about lovin' me....'