Intro to Literary Study (2005)

11 Feb 2005
Early Modern English

Sundry merrie tales of "Ye Olde Englishe," of the dayes of yore.

Dost thou cringe when a merrie RenFest maiden knoweth not when to use "dost" and when to use "doth"?

The author of a good article on buying laptops was unfortunate enough to have an editor who titled his article "Here ye -- let thine site visitors speak." The article appeared on a website affiliated with IBM -- an organization that I figure can afford to hire an English major to check on such things.

On a discussion board whose links have disappeared, I participated in a lively critique of that headline. Soon, the editor chanted it to read "Hear ye -- let thy site visitors speak."

"Hear ye" means essentially "Listen up." Spelling was a more flexible art back in ye olde dayes, so it's possible that someone who wrote "here" was thinking of "hear". But "thine" should be "thy".

An English major who reads this sentence should feel like a "Star Trek" fan who's just heard someone mocking "Dr. Spock," or like a Pittsburgher who hears a non-native use "yinz" to refer to a single person. (That's the local abbreviation of "you ones," fulfilling a function similar to the Brooklyn "youz guys" or the Southern "y'all".)

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