Pronoun to address God

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Dymn

Senior Member
Hi all,

Which pronoun do you use in your language to address God (Christian or otherwise) in religious prayers, especially in languages with T-V distinction?

I think most of them use the T (informal) pronoun, which was also the case for Latin I suppose. Among those are Spanish (), and I don't know if English as well (thou)? As for Catalan, the pronoun vós is used. Vós is/was mainly used for older people, it instills respect/authority (unlike tu) but not coldness/distance (unlike vostè). I think this is due to the Christian notion of a close, personal God.

So, what about your language(s)? :)
 
  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    Spanish ()
    Yes, is used but vos was used in the past (e.g.: by Saint Ignacio de Loyola or in the novel El Lazarillo de Tormes) and it still remains in use on some contexts and you can find yet some (mainly older) people using it. Other contexts aren't clear about the pronoun. For example, alabado sea Dios that may be he or usted but it can't be because it would be alabado seas, Dios.
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    My observation in Brazil is that Catholics use vós and Protestants use tu. I never heard anybody address God as você.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    I think that in Italian we mostly refer to God with the informal "you" (tu), but I'm no expert.

    For example, in the Lord's Prayer, we say Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano (Give us this day our daily bread ), using the informal "you".

    In Lodato sia il Signore (= alabado sea Dios, praised be the Lord), the implicit pronoun is a third person pronoun, not a formal "you".
     
    «Σύ» [si] (2nd p. sing. personal pronoun) in Greek, eg « Ἀνάστα Κύριε σῶσόν με ὁ Θεός μου ὅτι σὺ ἐπαταξας πάντας τοὺς ἐχθραίνοντάς μοι ματαίως» "Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone" (Psalm 3)
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I think that in Italian we mostly refer to God with the informal "you" (tu), but I'm no expert.

    For example, in the Lord's Prayer, we say Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano (Give us each day our daily bread ), using the informal "you".

    In Lodato sia il Signore (= alabado sea Dios, praised be the Lord), the implicit pronoun is a third person pronoun, not a formal "you".
    I'm no expert either, but just like in Spanish and Catalan I think I remember my grandmother used to address God by "Voi" (which is an old-fashioned way to politely address someone in Italian anyway). She had me recite a few prayers where God and Mary were addressed with the "Voi" form, I just can't really recall them anymore.
     
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    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Cymraeg/Welsh also uses the informal ti (T-form) when addressing the Deity. "Ein Tad yr hwn wyt yn y nefoedd ...".

    English did traditionally, too as witness the same line from the Paternoster: "Our Father, which art in Heaven ..." (And then there are all those 'Thee', Thou' and 'Thine'.

    All this discussion then seems a little bit odd - that 'we' don't use the V-form , when we associate this with 'respect' and/or 'someone who is our superior.' Perhaps religious people have a more intimate relationship (T-form) with their Deity ...
     

    alfaalfa

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Ciao,
    God and Mary were addressed with the "Voi" form
    really? I can remember only Mary (es. oh Maria concepita senza peccato, pregate per noi che ricorriamo a Voi) but not always (Ave Maria...benedetto il tuo nome).
    As said in post #5, I always referred to God with "you". In the Mass, the priest always adderesses God with "you". Saint Francis of Assisi in Laudes Creaturarum said: Laudato si', mi' Signore, cum tucte le tue creature.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Macedonian uses Ти (Ti) [ti] 2nd p. sing. personal pronoun, but spelled with a capital letter. All other pronouns (possessive, relative, reflexive) used to address God are spelled with a capital letter too.
     
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    rarabara

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    We use "sen" to pray to God and wish something from him in turkish.

    We use "tú" in kurdish.
     

    aldonzalorenzo

    Senior Member
    Castellano
    I can remember only Mary (es. oh Maria concepita senza peccato, pregate per noi che ricorriamo a Voi) but not always (Ave Maria...benedetto il tuo nome).
    As said in post #5, I always referred to God with "you". In the Mass, the priest always adderesses God with "you". Saint Francis of Assisi in Laudes Creaturarum said: Laudato si', mi' Signore, cum tucte le tue creature.
    I think it's the same in Spanish. Some prayers to our Lady keep the old "vos", for instance: "Acordaos (instead of "acuérdate") oh piadosísima Virgen María... vuestra protección... haya sido abandonado de vos". And the one you write "ruega por nosotros que recurrimos a vos". But most of them I think are used with "tú": "Dios te salve María, llena eres de gracia... bendito el fruto de tu vientre..."
    As far as I can remember, to God, always with "tú".

    EDIT: I just remembered a prayer I know to God, called "Comunión espiritual" that doesn't use "tú": "Yo quisiera Señor recibiros con aquella pureza, humildad y devoción con que os recibió vuestra santísima Madre...".
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Traditionally in the UK, prayers and Church services all used "Thou", "Thee" and Thy/Thine" making it pretty much the only surviving use of those forms in standard modern English. But in recent times, the Church of England has mostly moved towards a preference to the "you" forms instead.

    It's interesting that a quite a number of those who prefer to stick to the old forms seem to do so in the belief that it's somehow more respectful and reverent, in apparent contradiction of the fact that they're actually the familiar forms of address. :)
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hungarian - te; Czech - ty (the same way mothers call their babies)
    I have been wondering what Vietnamese call God. :confused: You know they have no typical personal pronouns. Are they any Vietnamese here? I doubt it.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Dutch gij

    In Standard Dutch, this pronoun is only used for God. However, this is also the informal word for "you" in Southern dialects (including all of Flanders).
     

    Terio

    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    In French, at least among the Catholics, it used to be 2nd pers. plural (vous) up to the sixties. Since the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, it is 2e pers. singular (tu). (I was a child then, so I could say tu to God, but no to my parents !)
     
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