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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Sir Toby & Pronouns
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0598  Monday, 26 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	Martin Orkin <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 06:39:50 +0300
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[2] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 11:36:08 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[3] 	From: 	Jonathan Hope <
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	Date: 	Monday, 26 Jun 2006 11:18:08 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Martin Orkin <
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Date: 		Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 06:39:50 +0300
Subject: 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns

For another tellingly out of date reference see Robert Frederick Ilson 
'Forms of address in Shakespeare with special reference to the use of 
"thou" and "you" (unpublished University of London PHD Thesis 1971)

All best

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Saturday, 24 Jun 2006 11:36:08 -0400
Subject: 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns

Here's an addition to the discussion of Sir Toby's switch from "thou" to 
"you" early in his conversation with Cesario. The familiar form was 
commonly used by masters to servants, children, and spouses (the root of 
"familiarity" is "family"). Orsino uses "thou" more than "you," as shown 
in Martin Mueller's convenient table, because in the play he talks 
mostly to his servants, and on topics that invite familiarity.

In the present instance, I suggest, Toby initially adopts a form that 
will put the emissary in his (inferior) social (and duellistic) place. 
As Tom Bishop suggests, however, Cesario's response is couched in 
language that affirms social equality (s/he is, of course, at least as 
gently born as Toby) as it also tries to reject the grounds of Toby's 
discourse; we might imagine a certain asperity in the actor's tone on 
"You mistake, sir," to underline the grammatical point.

Sociolinguistically,
David Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jonathan Hope <
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Date: 		Monday, 26 Jun 2006 11:18:08 +0100
Subject: 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0589 Sir Toby & Pronouns

Martin Mueller makes a very useful suggestion regarding the use of stats 
in relation to thou/you choice. Getting a sense of the overall ratio of 
thou to you like this is a good place to start (especially if you can 
isolate characters whose usage seems out of line with that of other 
characters).  Bear in mind however, that raw totals of 'thou' vs 'you' 
forms generated by a simple concordance like this will include instances 
of singular *and* plural 'you'.

Ideally you should hand-search the 'you' forms and knock out any plural 
forms (though in some cases they will be ambiguous).  This might sound 
like a long job, but it is worth doing since it sends you back to the 
text - especially with regard to understanding thou/you use, there is no 
substitute for close reading!

Jonathan Hope, Strathclyde University, Glasgow
http://www.sinrs.stir.ac.uk/news.htm

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