Modern English was used from the late 15th century to the mid to late 17th century.

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Thee or thou in these sentences: [duplicate]

Think thee that I would desert thee? Think thee that I don't care? or: Think thou that I would desert thee? Think thou that I don't care? Which one is right?
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5answers
299 views

“Cut their hawsers”

I'm annotating a late 16th or early 17th century English play for publication, and I'm having trouble making sense of a certain incident that takes place. I'm hoping someone familiar with Elizabethan ...
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3answers
293 views

Middle English or Elizabethan English as a second language? [closed]

Are there books, web sites, or language courses designed for English speakers who want to learn Middle English or Elizabethan English in the same way that they would learn a foreign language? It would ...
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2answers
296 views

Why is the Elizabethan English incorrect in this quote?

I saw a Geico commerial with Elizabethan verb forms that bothered me because they were being misused: Trick Number 1. Lookest over there! Servant looks Haha! Madest thou look! So endest the ...
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1answer
50 views

Archaic gradation words/constructs synonymous to “more” and “less”?

Are there any adverbs/pronouns (or sentence constructs) that fulfilled the gradation role of more and less in Early Modern English, that currently fell out of use or exist only in marginal, archaic or ...
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2answers
165 views

Is there any extant movement for the revival of elements of Early-Modern English in regular, or academic usage?

I love Early-Modern English. It seems to me that words in Early-Modern English encode more information than their counterparts in Modern English. I know of a few English reform movements, but none ...
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2answers
100 views

Etymology of “Sort”

Did the English word sort originate from the French word sort? e.g., sortie. Whereas, in French its meaning derives to out, exit, going out. How did it end up in English to mean category, ...
2
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0answers
675 views

A thesaurus with archaic and obsolete words [closed]

Can you point me to any online thesaurus that contains obsolete, archaic, out-of-use synonyms for contemporary words? Google search is horribly unhelpful, yielding hundreds common thesaurus and ...
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2answers
160 views

How/When did English transform to the modern version we use today? [closed]

I know that a language evolves with time and constantly keeps itself up to people's needs. But when I read a bible or a poem of Shakespeare, I can see English was very different by then with sentences ...
2
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1answer
97 views

Noun verbs a-gerunding - the meaning of the “a-gerund” form?

The first time I saw this antiquated form was in Steeleye Span's interpretation of The Elf Knight ballad, but I tend to see it now and then and I don't quite know how it is used. Lady Isabel sits ...
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2answers
160 views

What does “might” exactly mean in the following excerpt?

This is a excerpt from Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, and I want to know the exact meaning of might regarding the context. Some say by might we mean: being allowed to and some say it ...
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1answer
273 views

Differences between servant, maid, page, and attendant [closed]

In an airplane, the lady attending you is known as the attendant, besides sometimes being called a stewardess or air hostess. What does she do? Just serve you. Then what is that my maid does? ...
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518 views

English antonyms to rage, anger, annoyance [closed]

I would like to know if there are antonyms to words rage, anger, annoyance. I care about preserving the intensity of opposing words.
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2answers
376 views

Why did the old pronouns and their respective endings vanish from daily usage?

If I’m not wrong, the verb conjugation in the past used to be: I have we have thou hast ye have he/she/it hath they have This conjugation is closer to its equivalent in the ...
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3answers
433 views

-est vs. -st verb endings in Early Modern English

I've been Googling for a little while tonight, but I can't seem to find any rules on this. Irregular ("strong") verbs seem to be pretty set in their endings: goest, dost. But when I get to something ...
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2answers
368 views

Future Subjunctive

I have a few issues to discuss linked to the Future Subjunctive. 1) Can "If I were you." mean the same as "If I were to be you." In other words, can "If I were you." have the reference to the future ...
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1answer
125 views

What does “sayd” (etc.) mean in old book clipping? [closed]

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p24, 25). Noisy parties of wits and Paul's men crossed to Bankside to see Romeo and Juliet, or Hamlet the Dane, or else 'The most excellent ...
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1answer
210 views

Where do we get “queen” from? [closed]

King comes from Old Norse konungr, and prince is from French principle, but I have found no definite etymology for queen as we know it. I have found assumptive connections such as to keenan and gna, ...
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2answers
127 views

What did James V mean by “afferandly”?

In this letter from 1536, King James V of Scotland wrote in 1536: Veilbelouit frend, we grete yow. Forsamekill as we ar of pourpas to pas to Kelso, and to vesy owr Bordouris for ordoneng of ...
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4answers
337 views

During what period of history did English use “ß”, the “sharp s” ligature?

The ß glyph is a lowercase letter than represents a ligature between a long s and a round s, and is still used today in (some versions of) German. Its uppercase equivalent is two characters instead ...
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2answers
549 views

Recent grammar additions

A lot of questions have been dedicated to how evolution of English got many constructs of the old either fall out of use, merge, or evolve into different forms but still with 1:1 relation to original. ...
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0answers
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Shakespeare: “Asses are made to bear” [closed]

When Petruchio invites Katherine to sit on his lap, she replies, "Asses are made to bear, and so are you." (Taming of the Shrew Act II, Scene 1.) The denotation is clear, donkeys (Equus africanus ...
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3answers
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What animal is a “weefil”?

What animal is depicted in this image labelled “weefil”?
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2answers
332 views

What irregular verbs are there in Early Modern English?

Can anyone tell me, or direct me to a site where it would have a list of, irregular verbs in Early Modern English? I understand verbs such as "to be" or "to have", but how many more are there, and ...
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2answers
297 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
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0answers
155 views

Grammar corrections for song for Early Modern English play [closed]

I wrote a song for a play I'm writing where I utilize a degree of early modern english, it's not entirely in archaic prose as for many audiences that would be a turn off, as its a comedy and a ...
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1answer
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Capital Letters from 1700 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Capitalisation of nouns in English (historically) After reading a recipe from 1747, I noticed that all of the nouns are capitalized. Is that a normal thing for that era? ...
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7answers
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Full stop, double stop, period and colon

At different times I see "full stop" used online. Does this just mean a period, or is it something more or less? I would assume it refers to a period specifically at the end of a sentence, but does it ...
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2answers
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How do you conjugate Early Modern English verbs (other than present tense)?

I was wondering how one might conjugate verbs in early modern English in various tenses. I am aware of the fact that for second person and third person singular specifically, the verb endings are -est ...
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1answer
219 views

Conjugation of wonder in early modern English [closed]

What I actually mean what's the conjugation of the verb wonder. For example: I wonder, thou wonderest, etc.. including past, ing form, etc.. (it will actually help me with other verbs too)
3
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2answers
82 views

Have the words 'horsemanshipp' & 'warr' been used so in writing, in the early 16th Century?

I was looking for origin of the word carousel, and I found the following, One of the purposes of the Royalle Carouselle, as it was called in a patent application of 1673, was to give "sufficient ...
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0answers
442 views

Describe the detailed phonetic environment for the appearance/presence of /ɜ:/. [closed]

One recent vowel phoneme in English is /ɜ:/. It would seem that this sound only developed in a certain phonetic environment, or to phrase it differently: it only appeared under certain conditions.
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2answers
363 views

Where can I read old English text with new English explanations [closed]

I like old English like "Coole their heeles", "thee" ,"thy" ,"ye" etc. Where can I find old English text but with explanations and meaning? I would also like to read old text, can you list them ...
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5answers
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Differences between dialects

I'm Italian and I'm trying to improve my English, but I have some difficulty speaking with and understanding people of different countries. For example when I study English in books it seems to be ...
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2answers
848 views

Which was the first dictionary and how was it decided which words went into it?

I've heard the riddle: "If Websters' was the first dictionary where did he get all the words from?" It has quite since intrigued me, honestly. Which was the first English language dictionary and how ...
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1answer
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How obsolete is the word “overmorrow”?

I stumbled over the word overmorrow and wanted to know whether it is in use. So I used Googles Ngram Viewer and wondered why it has not found a single reference. Was overmorrow only used one time in ...
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2answers
4k views

When did we stop speaking Old English? [closed]

There is Old English, and there is the English we speak now. When did exactly did the British (or Americans) change from speaking Old English to speaking the current form of English?
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3answers
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Does “'tis” means “this is” or “it is”?

I have found much trouble identifying the old word 'tis. Does it mean "this is" or "it is?" I have done some research and found that the dictionaries conflict. One said 'tis :An old English word ...
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3answers
281 views

Meaning of Early Modern English “iuie”

I found this phrase in Featherstone's Dedication at the front of an English translation of the Commentary on John by John Calvin: It is an old saying, (Right Honorable,) and no lesse true then ...
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2answers
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“I must to England” in Hamlet: What does “must” mean without an infinitive?

What did "must" mean when used as a non-modal verb (sorry, I don't know the technical term) in Early Modern English? For example: I must to England; you know that? (Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV) ...
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2answers
602 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English abortion?

The question is not so easy as it seems. Let's analyze some derivatives: abortion, abortive, abortiveness, abortionist. The analysis of derivational suffixes (-ion, -ive, ive+ness etc.) helps to ...
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1answer
967 views

Word contractions in Shakespeare's plays

In Shakespeare's plays it is common to find contracted words, such as "o'er", "e'en", "sulph'uous", "ta'en". Is it just a literary device or those words were actually pronounced (in day-to-day speech) ...
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7answers
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Pronunciation of “zounds?”

I came across the sentence "Fortunately their are a variety of different offerings out there with zounds of features." Disregarding the misuse of "zounds," how would Elizabeth I have pronounced the ...
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4answers
2k views

How and why have some words changed to a complete opposite?

One example that comes to mind is terrific which originally denoted something quite terrorising while now it has positive connotations... How and why did these changes occur?
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3answers
3k views

What were nightmares called before “nightmare” was used in that sense?

Apparently the word "nightmare" has only been used in the sense of "bad dream" since c. 1829. Before then the term referred to the agent causing the dreams—a mare < mera, mære 'goblin, ...
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4answers
116 views

“To” versus “with” in early English

I've been reading John Donne's Song (Go And Catch A Falling Star) and my query is on the usage of to in the line "to two or three." Yet she Will be False, ere I come, to two or three. I ...
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Was the “Ye Olde Shoppe” ever used or is it just an ancient-looking construct of modern times?

Surely, if I were the owner of a shop selling archery goods and wanted to portray my shop as some kind of old-fashioned, high-quality traditional outlet, I might be tempted to call it “Ye Olde Archery ...
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4answers
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Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
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5answers
482 views

Archaic text suggestions

I'm interested in learning Archaic English. As a starting point, I guess simple texts that are easy to comprehend would be a good choice. I would appreciate any suggestions.
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735 views

Is it ever effective to use modern and archaic grammar together?

A manuscript I'm currently editing has brought up a new (to me) problem - There's a character who speaks in archaic forms ("thee" and "thou", essentially). I've noted to the writer that this is coming ...