Speaking Ye Olde Butchered English

So, nobody in the world seems to know how to speak archaic English, except the people who do.  And the people who do apparently either don’t know how to type or have no concept of “clean and simple” explanations.

Quick nomenclature review: nominative, objective, possessive, and reflexive are the main pronoun forms in English, although some pronouns have special case forms.  Nominative pronouns are used as subjects, objectives as, well, objects.  ”I am me.”  ”I” is nominative, “me” is objective.  Since the subject and object are the same person, the reflexive can be used: “I am myself.”  Reflexive formation is irregular in English, just like everything else because this language is just like that.

Short version about archaic English is that English had to be weird as always and somewhere along the line we lost our informal speech pattern.  That’s right, we lost the informal one, contrary to popular belief.  We’d sound like a bunch of stuck-up pricks to Shakespeare.  Because of that, we no longer had to differentiate verb endings for the 2nd person, and they fell by the wayside (all those “th”s and “st”s).  Now, everyone and their brother sticks them back in all the wrong places the second their DnD character opens his mouth.  I can help you, so please listen to me, or I’ll be rolling up random lightning strikes from the gods of grammar to smite you when it’s my turn to DM.

So, going in order of nominative/objective/possessive/reflexive/special:

formal sing.   : you   you   your  yourself

formal pl.       : you   ye     your  yourselves

informal sing.: thou  thee  thy*   thyself          thine*

informal pl.    : you   ye     your  yourselves   thineselves**

*before “h” and vowels use “thine,” in all other cases use “thy.”

**Not a real form, but there were no grammar rules back then and they used it because they screwed up sometimes, too, even in the King James Bible.  So, if you really want the ye olde vibe, you’ll be forgiven in grammar hell.

As for the verbs: if thou art using the informal singular, thou shouldst tack the “st” onto thy present tense verbs, but only to one verb in each usage: “shouldst tack” or “tackest,” not “shouldst tackest.”  This might not be a real rule (again, no rules existed), but it improves the flow of the sentence.  Finally, the “th”s are used with the 3rd person present tense: “He walketh to the grocer even now, though I fear he doth tarry on the way.  He hath walked there many a time.”  It’s “doth” and “hath” here.  Change it to 2nd person informal singular: “Thou art walking to the grocer even now, though I fear thou dost tarry on the way.  Thou hast walked there many a time.”

I feel like that’s pretty much everything.  If I left something out, or you know something I don’t and hate to see people spreading wrong stuff on the internet, or I just wasn’t clear, please let me know.  Feel free to drop a question, but realize I’m relatively new to Tumblr and might have trouble finding your question if you do something fancy instead of just use my ask box.

  1. pistachiomustachio reblogged this from booksandwildthings
  2. therainingkiwi reblogged this from booksandwildthings
  3. booksandwildthings reblogged this from veestormcourage
  4. askalatea-mod reblogged this from moonfallmod and added:
    Reblogging for great justice done to Ye Olde English.
  5. barhandar reblogged this from veestormcourage and added:
    Yay Old English.
  6. dreamingofgreentea reblogged this from veestormcourage
  7. moonfallmod reblogged this from veestormcourage and added:
    For the sake of posterity/easy finding…..
  8. veestormcourage posted this