Friday, September 28, 2007

Sabbatical a long way off; thee says truly

I have a list of publishers now who might be possibilities for my Seventh-day Quaker book. I realized after hearing the talk by Wade Rouse that the draft might be considered a memoir, which helped shape the publishers I've noted. But after negotiating with another librarian in my unit who is also applying for sabbatical, I realized that if it is granted, it is still a year and 3 months away. What will carry me through: the discipline of hope, small tasks like creating the bibliography in the citation manager, refining the publisher list, and perhaps an intensive class at Earlham School of Religion.

By the way, I continue to be fascinated with the Spanish Sociolinguistics class I'm sitting in on this semester! The question of English-speakers using the singular came up Wednesday--and I wonder if there are any Friends who still use either thou or thee? I do have a non-Quaker friend who uses "thee" as an intimate and affectionate term for her spouse, as do I. But are there folks who use it as a regular practice, at home or in Meeting, school, in blogs, etc., or has it truly died out? I see that jeanne_d_arc has urged us to observe "October (Tenth Month) 24 ... as International Talk Like a Quaker Day." I also see this article citation from Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, which says that a 1990 survey of 28 Quakers showed that the 2nd person singular is still in use:
Birch, Barbara M. "Quaker Plain Speech: A Policy of Linguistic Divergence." International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 1995. v. 116, pp. 39-59.
If anyone would like to weigh in, speak thy mind, Friend!


Elizabeth Bathurst said...

I know that this post is a little old, but I only just found your blog today.

In Conservative circles it is not uncommon to use "thee" and "thou," sometimes only with family, sometimes only with Quakers and I have heard rumors that some of the plain-dressing Friends in Iowa and Ohio use plain speech exclusively.

While I am comfortable enough with plain speech that I don't always notice it, I don't really use it unless I'm quoting someone else. Seems to me that it's unnecessary for the original purpose of treating people equally, as most English speakers now use "you" for everyone. It sounds outdated and can even be confusing to others, which I think makes it more of an in-group/out-group thing which sometimes makes me wonder if it's usage is sometimes defeating the original purpose of treating everyone the same.


Kim Ranger said...

Elizabeth, thanks for your comment! I think you're right about the "in-group thing." I do enjoy your blog, by the way.