Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in the trenches

Just a reminder that Some Networks never cease their vigilance in the Long War on Christmas:

Global warming skeptics are blasting Build-A-Bear Workshop for being anything but soft and cuddly, accusing the well-known toy company of trying to indoctrinate young children with a series of videos warning of the effects of climate change.

Rest ye merry, you poor paranoid schmucks.



Blogger John Cowan said...

Oops, grammar glitch: ye should be you. Ye, like I, is used only as the subject of a clause. Here the pronoun is the object of the verb rest, which in this context means 'keep', 'preserve', as in rest assured. So in more modern language God rest you merry would be May God make you cheerful.

6:51 PM, December 25, 2009  
Blogger fev said...

Dude! Tell ye it to Milton (and ride us with a classic Hierarchy/ Taught ye by mere A.S. and Rotherford), Byron (Was not the place of Doge sufficient for ye?)and Dickens (‘and Heaven be with ye both!’). Granted, most of the 'ye' pronouns in the Milton sonnet are subjects, but I think we can take the OED at its word here: "Used as objective (accusative or dative) instead of you (in plural or singular sense)."

Withal I toast the holiday, so, like, prosit!

8:24 PM, December 25, 2009  
Blogger John Cowan said...

Indeed, when a distinction collapses, people forget how to use it. Whom pretty much has this status today: it's a marker of formal discourse and nothing more. Also, part of the reason for the loss of the old clear distinction in writing was the loss of distinction in speech, both you and ye being pronounced with a schwa in unstressed positions. A similar story can be told for the assimilation of yea and nay to yes and no, which latter were originally used only to answer negative questions or in similar situations of emphasis. Here's Thomas More criticizing Tindale's translation of the New Testament for these points (quotation marks added):

I would not here note by the way that Tyndale here translateth no for nay, for it is but a trifle and mistaking of the Englishe worde : saving that ye shoulde see that he whych in two so plain Englishe wordes, and so common as in naye and no can not tell when he should take the one and when the tother, is not for translating into Englishe a man very mete [= fitting]. For the use of these two wordes in aunswering a question is this. No aunswereth the question framed by the affirmative. As for ensample if a manne should aske Tindall himselfe: "ys an heretike meete to translate Holy Scripture into Englishe?" Lo to thys question if he will aunswere trew Englishe, he must aunswere nay and not no. But and if the question be asked hym thus lo: "is not an heretike mete to translate Holy Scripture into Englishe?" To this question if he will aunswere trewe Englishe, he must aunswere no and not nay. And a lyke difference is there betwene these two adverbs ye and yes. For if the question bee framed unto Tindall by the affirmative in thys fashion: "If an heretique falsely translate the New Testament into Englishe, to make his false heresyes seem the word of Godde, be his bokes worthy to be burned?" To this questyon asked in thys wyse, yf he will aunswere true Englishe, he must aunswere ye and not yes. But now if the question be asked him thus lo; by the negative: "If an heretike falsely translate the Newe Testament into Englishe to make his false heresyee seme the word of God, be not hys bokes well worthy to be burned?" To thys question in thys fashion framed if he will aunswere trewe Englishe he may not aunswere ye but he must answere yes, and say yes marry be they, bothe the translation and the translatour, and al that wyll hold wyth them.

7:40 PM, December 27, 2009  

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