I am just learning my way around this website and so I don't know how to search for previous posts on plain speech, but I would like to hear others thoughts on this subject. I know the history of plain speech but would like to hear why and how it is being used now, in particular what part users feel it plays in their plain testimony and in their search for simplicity.

I have been led to an awareness of how my words either bring the Light or cover the Light in my daily life. Even a few misspoken words, or words used too forcefully, or with the wrong spirit can completely cloud the atmosphere and leave me almost immediately feeling abandoned by the Inner Light. I am trying to increase my sensitivity to this as I feel the ability to discern the movements of the Spirit at this level is essential to bringing peace to human interactions.

When I am pausing to measure my words it is often that plain speech comes into my head. It seems to be the right speech to use to keep a right spirit. But why would this be? And have others experienced the same thing? Is it just because I am used to hearing or reading it in a certain, "peaceful", context?

I would appreciate others thoughts on this subject as I struggle along.

Barb

Views: 150

Replies to This Discussion

Barb--

If this conversation goes as previous ones on QuakerQuaker, thee will hear from some how helpful they have found plain speech to being more Mindful and Obedient to the Christ Within and thee will also hear how impossible it is that anything like it could be Useful, that it is all nonsense and cannot be practiced with integrity by anyone at any time, that plainness of speech means being more clear and that "plain speech" is *less* clear and should be abandoned. Those are sort of the extremes.

In my own life, I use it as often as I can, by which I mean as often as I remember, which is more and more often the longer I do it. I don't use the "thou art" or "goest" sorts of forms, simply thee, thy, thine in the way Traditional Friends in Ohio Yearly Meeting use it today. I noticed when I had the flu and was quite ill for ten days I didn't use it at all . . . I honestly didn't have the strength for it. But I find it helpful, useful, and humbling. I don't tend to use plain days of the week, mostly because I want to be sure and I am not that good at parsing which plain day of the week I mean! A newcomer to plain speech was visiting Ohio Yearly once in the 1960s and gave the wrong plain day . . . so no one was there to meet them at the station. I am entirely capable of that sort of error, and so I humbly offer up the pagan days so that I can actually communicate what I mean to communicate. It is also not that unusual for Friends to only use it among Family and Friends, though some will condemn that as inconsistent, it is nonetheless a common practice I am unprepared to condemn myself.

Isabel

I would also note that I have, entirely by happenstance, seen two examples of an Old-Order Amish character being depicted in television shows (situation comedies) speaking plain speech. Total crack up, because other than having interesting Swiss-German or German accents, they do not and have not ever used plain speech . . . but it stays in the cultural imagination somehow . . .

Every now and then someone at my Liberal Quaker Meeting will use plain speech, and it never jars me.  It's as if certain instances lead someone into using it. 

 

When you say that "plain speech comes into my head," and it feels right, then to me it certainly seems to be a leading for you. 

 

I myself rarely use it, and am more inclined to use it when I'm writing than when I'm speaking.  I don't know why.  It does not enhance Simplicity for me, because I have to think about proper usage, and when people mix up their thees and thous, it grates against my psyche, the same way bad grammar or gross mispronounciation bothers me (if someone says "chimbley" for chimney).  I know this gut level reaction is a form of judgementalism in myself that I need to conquer.  Everyone hasn't had the same access to education, and I should not judge them for it.  Here in Kentucky, we have a 33% functional illiteracy rate.  That means that a third of the population can't read a restaurant menu!  I should not judge these people!!!

 

Another of my failings is that the use of thee and thou in outspoken prayer is used by people of certain very rigid "Christian" groups, often improperty, as if the Spirit will put the prayer in the waste basket unless one uses thee or thou in addressing the divine.  AND if asked about it, they believe it is a more formal form of address, so they use it in addressing God, when (if they knew their history) it's actually LESS formal.  <G>  I was at a conference once for people with a certain kind of disability that I have, and there was a woman who said a blessing before lunch, and she butchered the use of thee and thou.  <sigh>  I tried to not let it bother me, as she was obviously sincere in her effort, but I still remember it to this day.  (And besides, once one has experienced Silence, . . . Know what I mean?  Sure, you do!  8-)     )

 

peace & blessings,

      bets

 

Betsy Packard
Lexington Friends Meeting

Lexington, KY

Isabel, I had to chuckle at your "days of the week" discussion.  It's funny how the Spirit leads us each differently.  I love using the Quaker designations for days of the calendar.  It seems to come so naturally to me, though few folks at my Meeting do this in casual speech or emails.  For me, there's something comforting about numbering the months of the years and the days of the weeks.  Don't ask me why!  (And I am most certainly NOT, by nature, a "numbers person."  <G>)  

 

And you are so right about the Amish speech!  The director of the movie should have had them using good old PA "Dutch" idioms and accents.  ;-) 

 

peace & blessings,

        bets

 

Betsy Packard

Lexington Friends Meeting

Lexington, KY

Betsy--

Just to be clear, those two representations of Old-Order Amish were on two separate television shows . . .

:) Though I suppose it could have been the same writer :)

Isabel

Betsy Packard said:

Isabel, I had to chuckle at your "days of the week" discussion.  It's funny how the Spirit leads us each differently.  I love using the Quaker designations for days of the calendar.  It seems to come so naturally to me, though few folks at my Meeting do this in casual speech or emails.  For me, there's something comforting about numbering the months of the years and the days of the weeks.  Don't ask me why!  (And I am most certainly NOT, by nature, a "numbers person."  <G>)  

 

And you are so right about the Amish speech!  The director of the movie should have had them using good old PA "Dutch" idioms and accents.  ;-) 

 

peace & blessings,

        bets

 

Betsy Packard

Lexington Friends Meeting

Lexington, KY

I appreciate your replies. Mindfulness is what I am hearing in my
head. It feels more gentle to me and as if I would have a hard time
yelling at my kids with plain speech (not that I yell at them anyway,
but you know what I mean?). I am indeed working currently on being
mindful of how my words come across to my kids, so this is when it is
popping into my head. I find it fascinating frankly. So... but Betsy I
actually have no idea what the difference is between thee and thou,
and how about thy and thine? help? I speak German so maybe these are
the cases in German?

I smiled at your "the way things go on Quaker Quaker" statement
Isabel. I'm seeing what you mean. But I'm good at taking what I want
and leaving the rest.

Thanks,
Barb

RSS

Support Us

Did you know that QuakerQuaker is 100% reader supported? If you think this kind of outreach and conversation is important, please support it with a monthly subscription or one-time gift.


You can also make a one-time donation.

Latest Activity

Kirby Urner posted a video
yesterday
William F Rushby shared Rob Fensom's photo on Facebook
7th day (Sat)
Scott MacLeod updated their profile
7th month 17
William F Rushby commented on William F Rushby's blog post 'Wisdom from an Old German Bpitst Brethren website'
"I tried to get "Baptist" spelled correctly, but editing didn't work for me."
7th month 14
William F Rushby posted a blog post

Wisdom from an Old German Bpitst Brethren website

From Leanna Peters O'Riley in <Old German Baptist Brethren>We cannot pour from an empty…See More
7th month 14
Keith Saylor commented on Keith Saylor's blog post 'From William Salt's 1663 "Some Breathings of Life ..."'
"Full text if Salt's pamphlet can be found…"
7th month 13
Keith Saylor posted a blog post

From William Salt's 1663 "Some Breathings of Life ..."

And theſe two things feel me in (and therein abide with me.)My heart fixed in the Spirit of Love,…See More
7th month 2
Donn Weinholtz posted a discussion
6th month 22

© 2021   Created by QuakerQuaker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service