Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
wouldst, thou, thee, etc......
Is there some reason why Quakers talk like this here? I don't know any Quakers in real life that speak like this, and I'm wondering if it has to do with location?
I realize its 'proper' english, very Shakespearian..lol. But for those who do speak, do you speak like this at work, or just amongst friends?
Sometimes it comes out in the "real" world, including my non-Quaker family, but usually it is confined to Friends.
Nevertheless, the softer my heart is, the more the "thee" comes out. My heart is very soft these days.
lol....I loved your post friend paul.
Within' thee soft heart, I thank you all for educating me.
When I first joined meeting over 20 years ago, Lily who was 93 at the time still spoke "plain" amongst Friends.
Most of the traditional use has died out, but some people still keep to it. My beloved and I occasionally use it for very formal and tender conversations.
In terms of modern plain, the shift in language has moved to a democratic use of the plural (e.g. you instead of thee), and the challenging area I find is the use of titles or not. I've had some impressive debates with government organisations who insist on a title, and have been known to use Mr, even though I am female to protest at the idea that a title is still essential
I really appreciate the tenderness that moves Friends to use "plain speech." I had not considered it in that way. It reflects a true generosity of spirit. I have two concerns, though: one substantive, one historical/aesthetic.
If our speech is not consistent we may on some level inadvertently establish hierarchies of truth or lovingkindness. In this we risk creating unnecessary divisions both within the RSoF and with the wider community. This contradicts the original radical inclusivity of "plain speech." Contemporary English has abolished grammatical social distinctions although linguistic equivalents to "hat honor", as Helen Gibbs points out.
It is perhaps to my discredit that I am deeply invested in the English language and literature. It pains me to hear grammatically faulty archaic forms from Friends with perfect grasp of the contemporary forms. Pen Wilcock offers the suggestion that "plain speech" derives from but is not identical to the language of early Friends. This explanation makes sense, but I am still left feeling excluded by language that is clearly intended to create a sense of warmth and welcome.
Friend Chris speaks my mind.
There is nothing plain about either "plain speech" or "plain dress". it's actually some kind of vanity or attempt to exclude and as such should be avoided by Quakers.