Re: "Decay" in aspects of English grammar
Suppose then that the distinction was indeed serviceable. Under what circumstances might the English nonetheless have discarded it?
It seems strange, for instance, that a linguistic feature that could very efficiently express social inferiority / superiority should have begun to disappear at a time (the 17th century) when traditional hierarchies were still well established.
Or was it that the consolidated "you" was even more serviceable than the distinction, and provided a net gain?
Not a professional ESL teacher.