The Evolution of English Pronouns and Verbs in Shakespearean Literature

TLDR Shakespearean English contained words and grammar that are no longer used in modern English, including gendered nouns, formal and informal words, and distinct pronouns for singular and plural. Understanding Shakespearean writing requires familiarity with these outdated linguistic features.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Some of the greatest literary works in the English language, including those of Shakespeare, contain words that no longer exist.
01:50 English is a simple language without gendered nouns, formal or informal words, or distinctions in pronouns based on social status.
03:26 English used to have distinct pronouns and verb forms for the second person singular, such as "thou" and "shalt," which clarified whether the speaker was referring to one person or multiple people.
05:18 English pronouns have different forms depending on their role in a sentence, with "thou" being the informal version used when addressing friends and family, while "you" was the formal version used when addressing someone of higher social status.
07:02 In Shakespearean English, the possessive form of "thou" is "thine," and the second person plural is "yee" when used as the subject of a sentence and "you" when used as the object.
08:52 William Tyndale, one of the first people to translate the Bible into English, used "Thou" to refer to God in order to avoid confusion between the singular and plural meanings of "you" and to emphasize the singularity of God.
10:48 Understanding Shakespearean writing is not that hard once you get the hang of the words and grammar of that time period, but using modern English is much less confusing.
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