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  1. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
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    #11

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by admiral View Post
    I wrote a much longer and more detailed answer but this website timed out and lost it. I should have copied the text before I hit submit. Here's the short version.

    Both make sense. Neither are incorrect. But they are different in their meaning.

    Note: The evolution of the English language in its various forms allows for both, especially when we take into account a) the lack of historical standardization of language prior to the proliferation of dictionaries and also b) the sometimes arbitrary choices that have been made by early dictionary writers. These factors have caused a lot of confusion in etymology and at the same time, the evolution of language through new uses of words passing into the colloquial and then becoming accepted as literary through sheer frequency of use, is also worth acknowledging.

    I believe that the phrase "say your peace" pertains to saying "that which will give you satisfaction or peace of mind."

    In the related reference to "hold your peace" from the traditional wedding vow, "peace" in this instance most likely refers to "pact"
    What absolute nonsense! There is no question. It means 'be quiet'. In, for example Twelfth Night (written at about the same time as the source of the marriage ceremony) there is this song:

    Hold thy peace
    I prithee hold thy peace
    Thou knave.


    It obviously means 'be quiet'

    meaning the wedding contract, which historically involved dowry and various conditions that had to be met before the marriage could actually occur.
    That's true, but irrelevant.
    Therefore to "forever hold your peace" would mean to publicly "agree to your contract" without further objection and thus tacitly acknowledge the fulfillment of that contract.
    No. The people to whom this is addressed are not parties to the contract. They are observers/supporters. They are being told 'If you know of any reason for the wedding not to go ahead, say it now. Don't go around after the wedding saying the contract was invalid from the start.'
    Alternatively, the usage of "piece" likely derives either from Germanic applications of the word "stück" and its possible use at various points in the history of the English language
    What possible relevance has this to the discussion?
    or it may have been introduced through colloquial use possibly through the common adoption of journalistic terminology as in "opinion piece" "think piece" or "piece of writing". The phrases "piece of music" and "piece of art" also come to mind.

    I personally choose to use "peace" with this particular phrase as I believe it to be more historically accurate
    Why? It's just NOT.
    and have a greater emotional impact as it also implies a sense of importance and finality.

    To "say your peace" means to say that which will satisfy some important issue or at least satisfy the need to let it be known.

    To "say your piece" means simply to say "that thing you want to say" and it could be as simplistic as that.

    Either work, but they have different sentiments.

    Let's see which one makes it into the 30th Century Edition of the English Dictionary.
    Perhaps the last point is the only one with which I can agree.

    b

    PS I was forgetting my manners: and welcome to the forum. Please read the forum rules, particularly this Notice: 'Please note, all posts are moderated by our in-house language experts, so make sure your suggestions, help, and advice house* the kind of information an international language teacher would offer. If not, and your posts do not contribute to the topic in a positive way, they will be subject to deletion.'

    PPS *On reflection, that's an interesting use of the verb 'house'; or maybe it's a typo. Anyway, I hope you get the drift.
    Last edited by BobK; 21-Apr-2010 at 13:14. Reason: PS/PPS Added

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
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    #12

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    I've been thinking some more about that 'Speak now or forever hold your peace' in the marriage ceremony. It's beautifully balanced, in the form

    <verb A> + <adverb of time A> OR <adverb of time B> + <verb B>

    In each of the A/B pairs, one is the antithesis of the other: 'now/forever', 'speak/hold your peace'. 'Hold your peace' is the opposite of 'speak'.

    (Old William Tyndall (or whoever it was - one of the people referred to as 'God's Scribes' in God's Scribes: How the Bible Became the Bible Marco Polo monographs: Amazon.co.uk: Charles D Isbell: Books) certainly knew what he was doing!)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 22-Apr-2010 at 10:51.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Oh, homonyms are a pain, aren't they?!!

    But I'll add my little bit to this, simply to confirm that the phrase "to say your piece" has absolutely no connection to "hold your peace".

    The former simply means to say what you want to/to express an opinion. At a meeting, someone might have something very specific they wish to say so the participants will give them the opportunity to do so. The next person might say "OK, you've said your piece, now it's time for other people to speak".

    The latter means to keep quiet (peace = quiet).

    It would be physically impossible for someone to both speak and keep quiet at the same time, therefore "say your peace" couldn't happen.

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    #14

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Peace and piece sound the same when said out loud which, therefore, leads me to conclude that the phrase, "I said my peace", as it is written, arose due to a spelling mistake.

    emsr2d2 touched upon this above.

    Words with very similar sounds also seem to be confused in the same manner, for example: there, their, they're. This particular mistake happens a lot on message boards and forums.

    I agree with everyone who said that "I said my piece" is the correct phrase.


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    #15

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    In, for example Twelfth Night (written at about the same time as the source of the marriage ceremony) there is this song:

    Hold thy peace
    I prithee hold thy peace
    Thou knave.
    It's rather amusing that you chose to bring up Twelfth Night here. Shakespeare is notorious for making naughty puns, (or at least, some companies have a bad habit of making Shakespeare sound naughty!), and the production of Twelfth Night that I saw most recently involved the goofy characters singing this song holding their "piece" once told to do so. Apparently the problem's been around for a while :)

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    #16

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by miru View Post
    It's rather amusing that you chose to bring up Twelfth Night here. Shakespeare is notorious for making naughty puns, (or at least, some companies have a bad habit of making Shakespeare sound naughty!), and the production of Twelfth Night that I saw most recently involved the goofy characters singing this song holding their "piece" once told to do so. Apparently the problem's been around for a while :)

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Thank you so much for sharing this naughtiness with us!

  6. #17

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    If you say something, you could 'Say your piece" , but if the result of saying this was to resolve an argument with someone, you could say "I've made my peace"

  7. BobK's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: "I said my peace/piece"; which is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by miru View Post
    It's rather amusing that you chose to bring up Twelfth Night here. Shakespeare is notorious for making naughty puns, (or at least, some companies have a bad habit of making Shakespeare sound naughty!), and the production of Twelfth Night that I saw most recently involved the goofy characters singing this song holding their "piece" once told to do so. Apparently the problem's been around for a while :)

    I'm sure it was intentional. The context in Twelfth Night is a late-night drinking party - a sort of Elizabethan Men Behaving Badly.

    b

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