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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Question Is it called Early Modern English?

    Hello! What is the English called about the words in Shakespeare works, such as thou, thee, zounds, etc? Is it called Early Modern Engish or Elizabeth English?

    Could someone please answer this question for me? Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Zounds => (1590-1600) variation of 'swounds (pronounced zoundz)
    (interjection, archaic) used as a mild oath.

    'swounds => God's wounds

    Thee => The objective case of thou.[before 900;Mediveal English;Old English the, Low German di, German dir, Old Norse ther]

    Thou => thy or thine, objective thee, Plural you or ye
    usage is archaic, literary or religious or liturgical usage

    the etymology of thou is very very interesting:
    [before 900; Mediveal English, Old English thu, cognate with German, Middle Dutch du, Old Norse thu, Gothic thu, Old Irish tu, Welsh Cornish ti, Latin tu, Doric Greek ty, Lithuanian tu, Old Church Slavonic ty;
    akin to Sanskrit tvam;verbal late Mediveal English thowen, derivative of the pronoun.

    Thus this is the eymology of the word thee and thy.

    Now to your question what these words are called. As I have used the term Old English, Mediveal English and Low German, Old Church Slavonic etc., the etymologists have given certain time period for which a language was used in that time period. For example,
    Old English : The English language of AD c450-c1150. Also called Anglo Saxon. Abbreviation : OE( I have used Old English to help you understand, else you would find in a dictionary the abbreviations only due to shortage of space)

    Mediveal English :1150-1475; Abbreviated ME

    Modern English : 1475 onwards, abbreviated E

    Thus the linguists arrive at a consensus depending upon the change in a language to give a broad division of the language in terms of usage and its prevalance in certain period as Old, Mediveal or modern language.

    Dear thedaffodils, I had asked you to learn Dictionary reading. All good and advanced dicitionaries give etymology, orthography, pronounciation and usage with illustrations(if necessary). The first time you come across a word, go for all things above and you would be master of that word and its usage. Build your vocabulary word by word.

    P.S. I was also first perplexed that thou has origin in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language.

    Thus the above two words are of Old English, which found usage till mediveal times and are now obsolete except the usage mentioned above.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by SUDHKAMP View Post

    the etymology of thou is very very interesting:
    [before 900; Mediveal English, Old English thu, cognate with German, Middle Dutch du, Old Norse thu, Gothic thu, Old Irish tu, Welsh Cornish ti, Latin tu, Doric Greek ty, Lithuanian tu, Old Church Slavonic ty;
    akin to Sanskrit tvam;verbal late Mediveal English thowen, derivative of the pronoun.

    P.S. I was also first perplexed that thou has origin in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language.
    The etymology you quote does NOT say that "thou "has its origin" in Sanskrit. It says it is "akin" or related to a Sanskrit word. There is a very important difference in meaning.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Hello! What is the English called about the words in Shakespeare works, such as thou, thee, zounds, etc? Is it called Early Modern Engish or Elizabeth English?

    Could someone please answer this question for me? Many thanks!
    "Elizabethan" is normally used to refer to the literature (and some other features) of the period, but not the language. The language of Shakespeare is, as you say, Early Modern English.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    The etymology you quote does NOT say that "thou "has its origin" in Sanskrit. It says it is "akin" or related to a Sanskrit word. There is a very important difference in meaning.
    I do agree, that the word akin to does not entirely suggest that it has derived from Sanskrit word. But it surely indicates the roots of the word. Sanskrit being one of the oldest living scientific language of Indo-European languages, has many elements which have been adopted by other languages.

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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by SUDHKAMP View Post
    I do agree, that the word akin to does not entirely [It doesn't suggest it at all] suggest that it has derived from Sanskrit word.
    Primates are akin to humans, but no-one suggests that primates descended from humans.

    But it surely indicates the roots of the word.
    No. That's a fallacy. It might indicate that the two words have a common ancestor. But what is that ancestor (the root) that it points to?

    Sanskrit being one of the oldest living [Sanskrit is called a dead language in linguistics because no-one speaks it natively] scientific language of Indo-European languages, has many elements which have been adopted by other languages.
    And from this fact, you believe that you can claim that if a cognate is found in another language, it must have come from Sanskrit? That's a huge leap of logic.

    Scientists generally believe that Sanskrit and most European languages have a common ancestor. I haven't read your previous posts on Sanskrit. Do you claim that Sanskrit IS the common ancestor?

    R.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Perhaps you should have read my earlier posts, in which I have clearly mentioned that Prakrit was the ancient language and Sanskrit has derived from it. The success of Sanskrit lies in the fact that it is highly scientific, uses a very elaborate grammar and goes for the "Dhatu"(element) of a word. I am referring to this 'Dhatu'(element) factor which is found in other Indo-European languages which makes them having common parentage.
    Also, Sanskrit is not a dead language. It is still spoken by most of the Brahmins in India and all the Hindu scripture and epics are in Sanskrit language. Also, Sanskrit was the common language of whole of India, just like English is now a days, but was never a common man's language. It was protected and used by court and courteers and Brahmins of ancient times.
    I also do not claim that Sanskrit is the common ancestor, but it has adopted many "Dahtus"(elements) which have remained intact in Sanskrit, while they have changed form in other languages. Atlaish had started a thread in other languages section where we discussed many things which we found common in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and European language. My attitude is that in the beginning we were one and it is only due to passage of time and geography and different circumstances that the variations have occurred in our language.

    B.T.W : My family knows Sanskrit and we could speak many day to day things in it.

  8. #8
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Hi SUDHKAMP,

    Thank you for your input. I'm sorry I might not make myself clear. The words I refer to are general words that Shakespeare used but not some specific words as I enumerated.

    I had done some Internet research about this before posting my question of it. I just wanted to confirmed it, and wondered whether it is the most usual way people talk about.

    I think Early Modern English is understandable by most native speakers of English today; while the concept of Old English is the horse of another colour. Here's the info. about Old English from Wikipedia.
    Old English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by thedaffodils; 26-Oct-2008 at 17:36.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "Elizabethan" is normally used to refer to the literature (and some other features) of the period, but not the language. The language of Shakespeare is, as you say, Early Modern English.
    Hi Raymott,

    Thank you for your answer.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is it called Early Modern English?

    Quote Originally Posted by SUDHKAMP View Post
    Perhaps you should have read my earlier posts, in which I have clearly mentioned that Prakrit was the ancient language and Sanskrit has derived from it. The success of Sanskrit lies in the fact that it is highly scientific, uses a very elaborate grammar and goes for the "Dhatu"(element) of a word. I am referring to this 'Dhatu'(element) factor which is found in other Indo-European languages which makes them having common parentage.
    Also, Sanskrit is not a dead language. It is still spoken by most of the Brahmins in India and all the Hindu scripture and epics are in Sanskrit language. Also, Sanskrit was the common language of whole of India, just like English is now a days, but was never a common man's language. It was protected and used by court and courteers and Brahmins of ancient times.
    I also do not claim that Sanskrit is the common ancestor, but it has adopted many "Dahtus"(elements) which have remained intact in Sanskrit, while they have changed form in other languages. Atlaish had started a thread in other languages section where we discussed many things which we found common in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and European language. My attitude is that in the beginning we were one and it is only due to passage of time and geography and different circumstances that the variations have occurred in our language.

    B.T.W : My family knows Sanskrit and we could speak many day to day things in it.
    Yes, I will read that thread on other languages.

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