Archaic or obsolete vocabulary and grammar.

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How has pathetic fallacy's meaning changed?

When John Ruskin first coined the term pathetic fallacy he truly did mean that people were committing a fallacy when describing inanimate objects as having characteristics (or having pathos so were ...
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1answer
66 views

What does this sentence from Shakespeare mean? [closed]

Can someone kindly help me translate the following sentence from Shakespeare's language to Modern English through a context: "Prithee, would'st thou stay and sup with me in yonder chamber?"
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1answer
44 views

“And was Jerusalem builded here” - in the early 1800's was “builded” standard usage?

In the poem "Jerusalem" by William Blake the line ... And was Jerusalem builded here ... appears. Today I think most people would write that line as ... And was Jerusalem built here . I'...
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3answers
309 views

Explanation of the English in this University of Cambridge graduation certificate

I recently came upon this certificate of award of a BA degree at the University of Cambridge, which was written in a strange form of English which I didn't find very grammatical or logical according ...
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3answers
131 views

Adam lay ybounden. Any ys around these days?

thanks for pointing out the similar question. Great, but note that I'm trying to find ... • is there any SPECIFIC examples/evidence around of yword yusage TODAY? if so is it only jokey, is there any ...
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47 views

Bleak House language

I've been reading Bleak House, and I came across this sentence: Still the woman follows, crying, "Stop him, sir, pray stop him!" Allan, not knowing but that he has just robbed her of her money, ...
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26 views

Archaic verb conjugation: knowest vs know'st

When using the archaic 2sg-present conjugation for English verbs, when would you use the longer form (eg knowest) and when would you use the shorter form (`know'st')? Is it like contemporary English ...
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28 views

What was the purpose of the ethical dative?

I can find examples of its use, but not a rationale. Presumably there was one at some point. What was it for?
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1answer
45 views

“Would that of this journey I had heard…”?

This is a translation of a Heian period poem: Would that of this journey I had heard. So had my heart been with you when you sought the cuckoo's song. What does 'Would that of this journey I had ...
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4answers
148 views

Is use of “shall” archaic?

A friend of mine, pursuing BA(Hons) in English corrected me that no one uses shall now and often it is advised to prefer the use of should, would, etc. Although Downton Abbey is set upon a time ...
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44 views

Archaic verb form “bare”, its semantics

In King James Bible, John 12:6 we read: This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. As said here, bare is archaic ...
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106 views

Variety of English used by the Romantic poets| -eth/-s for the third person singular in particular

I have recently been reading poetry by John Keats and Rabindranath Tagore. Both these poets, being active in the 19th century, by which time I think English was quite as it is today, wrote still in ...
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43 views

How to properly use conjugate verbs using -est

Recently I have been confused on conjugating verbs in the 2nd person. I understand the 3rd person, -eth, but -est is a bit odd. example: He flies south / He flyeth south. But 2nd person? You fly ...
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1answer
189 views

“something come something”, or foo-come-bar

Is the bold construct below valid? Does it have a name? What sort of punctuation would you use for it? Fnord, the something-come-such-and-so, was under development for a year or so. It suffered a ...
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1answer
96 views

“Before” is to “ere”, as “after” is to …? [closed]

Are there any literary, poetic, or archaic form of "after" or "beyond"? I am especially interested in monosyllabic forms. Both "aft" and "yon" won't work, because they have quite different meanings.
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107 views

Did 'the' in 'the which' mean anything?

Because OED's entries for this archaic definite article + relative pronoun 'the which' only redirect to definitions of 'which', am I correct to infer that 'the' meant nothing semantically in 'the ...
3
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1answer
60 views

Is “agone” still a current dialectal expression?

Agone is defined in dictionaries as an archaic form of "gone" (TFD) but according to Etymonline the term is still used as a dialectal variant: Ago: ago (adj.) early 14c., shortened form ...
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1answer
54 views

Meaning of “not so apt to be solicited”

In 1852, a US senator complained that the head of the census bureau presented medical statistics to congress when he lacked expertise in the field. When the bureau chief told the senator of the ...
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155 views

“Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten”: what is forgotten?

Inspired by this question (which in turn was inspired by that one), to what name does "that is forgotten" apply to? Many are my names in many countries: Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the ...
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5answers
202 views

“Forbidden” / “permitted” directly followed by object

Is it correct to say "He is forbidden wine" or "Wine is forbidden him"? Most often these would be expressed as "He is forbidden to drink wine" or "Wine is forbidden to him," but I occasionally see the ...
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1answer
154 views

In old books, why is the first letter of the word after the exclamation mark not capitalised?

I was reading Frankenstein and I've noticed that the word after the exclamation mark usually isn't capitalised (unless it's a noun). Some of the quotes I've found: Alas! who is safe, if she be ...
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2answers
102 views

One word for a wandering scholar

So I'm looking for a single word to describe someone or something such as a wandering scholar, or a person who travels to obtain knowledge, or even a mobile repository of information. Preferably ...
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5answers
216 views

A Noun which describes an ignorant person accusing a well-informed opponent of ignorance?

I am looking for a word which describes a blatantly ignorant person (not knowing much about certain topic) who in a debate accuses of ignorance his opponent, who knows more about the topic of ...
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1answer
232 views

Why is ‘such an one’ obsolete?

One begins with a vowel and should therefore have an and not a in front of it. Why is it, then, that ‘such a one’ is what is actually said? It appears to have been the case when the King James Bible ...
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1answer
113 views

Pronunciation of ‘an hundred’ [duplicate]

I just saw a number of comments complaining about the first n in the phrase ‘an Herculean task’, claiming it implied a mute h. But is that true? My impression has been that earlier all words on h + ...
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709 views

“Contesting the palm” — looking for a definition and possible origin of this archaic phrase

I recently ran across an odd phrase—"contest the palm"—and after doing some Google searches found it used by a number of individuals in England during the 1800s but I cannot seem to find it defined ...
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1answer
80 views

G.B. Shaw and Phonetics

G.B. Shaw (the playwright) campaigned for a "universal alphabet," on and off, throughout his career. He (and some others) did have a point when they said that the English alphabet is anything but ...
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1answer
125 views

Reason why tantalium became obsolete

A search in google clearly shows that the word tantalum is the correct spelling of the word and is widely used today. What made me curious was this Wikipedia entry wrote: Previously known as ...
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1answer
80 views

Meaning of archaic “unto” [closed]

What is the Biblical meaning of unto? I have looked it up in Dictionary.com. But I am not satisfied with the answer. Jesus said in the New Testament Come unto me, all ye that labour and are ...
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2answers
932 views

Older ways to say “Dear” when writing a letter

"Dear" has become a polite introductory word from the 15c. I would like to know of older, archaic words that were, perhaps, used in its stead or alongside it. From the old letters I reviewed I found ...
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2answers
101 views

“Take a break of unknown duration” in formal language

I would like to express the following idea in a more fashionable and eloquent manner: leave on a break of unknown duration / take a break... / leave on hiatus... Use of the highest linguistic ...
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1answer
98 views

What does David Hume mean by the word “dull” in this quote?

In his essay "The Skeptic," 18th-century English philosopher David Hume concludes: In a word, human life is more governed by fortune than by reason; is to be regarded more as a dull pastime than ...
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52 views

Unto: an unusual usage

In the King James version, Luke 23:15 says No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. It is clear from the context that Pilate is here telling ...
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301 views

Unease vs uneasiness

Is the word unease more archaic or formal than the word uneasiness? I am used to the latter, but the former surprises me. Is there a rule how to choose the best one in similar pairs of words?
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183 views

Thanking someone

I have two questions: Does thank you become archaically thank thee? Are there alternative ways, archaic or not, of saying thank you other than thanks?
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1k views

Tolkien and archaic English

I once read that JRR Tolkien, a linguist by profession and of The Lord of the Rings fame, wrote his masterpiece using elements of archaic English to emulate the Bible. Following a question on writers....
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4answers
1k views

“That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ…”

That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ; but that old ones should be abolished, we hold no prediction. This is a quote from Religio Medici (1643) by Thomas Browne. It's quoted in ...
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206 views

Proper way to say is that so in its negative form

If someone were to say, "I like carrots." A possible -though slightly archaic- responce to that could be, "Is that so?" But what if someone says, "I dont like peas." A possible responce could be, "Isn'...
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1answer
153 views

Replacing “do you have” with “have you”

Found a similar question here, but with some minor differences. Is it archaic to use have you in sentences such as this: John : I think we can see it with a specially crafted telescope. Mary : ...
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313 views

Word that means “Sneak and Steal”?

I'm looking for a word that combines "Sneak" with "Steal", like: To sneak and steal It would be best if it were archaic, but I'd love to hear all possibilities of course. Thank you! EDIT: Thanks ...
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421 views

Is “were I you” archaic?

Would the following usage be considered archaic? Were I you, I would ask her for a date.
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1answer
242 views

Second Person Singular conjugation of words ending in Y

I know that most regular verbs would be conjugated in Second Person Singular by adding "est" (Thou makest), and Third Person Singular by adding "eth" (She maketh), but what if the verb ends with a Y? ...
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1answer
117 views

What is the meaning “It is permitted us to know …”

I saw a sentence It is permitted us to know respecting the signs, which are spoken by the prophets, for they foretold signs by which the consummation of the times is to be expected by us from day ...
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2answers
246 views

“how quicker” vs. “how much quicker”

I'm trying to settle a debate with my girlfriend. She says "how quicker" is incorrect and you should always use "how much quicker". Which of these is [more?] correct? See how quicker the cars ...
2
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1answer
122 views

'Might' is the subjunctive inflection of 'may'; was there ever a subjunctive inflection of 'must'?

I acknowledge that there is no subjunctive mood in English. However, there are variants of some words that we might regard as subjunctive variants. For example, 'might' is the, if you will, ...
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1answer
149 views

What makes a word archaic?

I understand that essentially a word is "archaic" if it is old and not really used much today. What I'm interested in is if there is something quantifiable that makes a word archaic or not. For ...
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6answers
15k views

Is “He is risen” Correct?

This is not correct, right? Mixing present tense and past tense makes me think it is not correct but I see it so often on signs that I'm not even sure any more. Is there a specific reason why it's ...
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2answers
99 views

Is the use of “long since” archaic?

As a non English speaker, I'm writing a profile in which I want to say something along the lines of: I've long since developed an interest for.... In context I feel it flows better than the (more ...
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1answer
214 views

Am I the only person to use “punch up” to mean “remind someone”?

I have always used "punch up" in the context of reminding or prodding someone for something such as: "I just punched up Jane that she needs to turn in her vacation schedule" When I used this ...
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1answer
252 views

The phrase - “I remain sceptical” vs “I continue to remain sceptical”

During a parent meeting , I heard a teacher say : I remain sceptical (on the progress of the child). and the parent questioning him- Why do you continue to remain sceptical? ...