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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
1answer
50 views

When is the period that coined the most English words?

It seems that there are numerous words being made every day. This got me wondering, when was the historic period when most new words were formed that are still part of Modern Standard English? Since ...
18
votes
5answers
69k views

Difference between Thee and thou?

What is the difference between thee and thou and how are they used?
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Is there a modern book comparable to Crabb's English Synonymes?

EDIT: I am looking for a book to make a study of modern synonyms. @WS2 recommended what appears to be a book of exceptional quality, but it has great depth in a few topic areas rather than a breadth ...
14
votes
4answers
782 views

Are English language books translated to contemporary English? [closed]

Were Shakespeare books translated to contemporary English? Which version is more common? Is there a rule to choose which books will have its language updated? Are poems updated too? From which year I ...
6
votes
3answers
111 views

In EModE should 'may' become 'mayest' when expressing a wish

I'm translating a text from Sanskrit, which has a singular/plural (and, actually, dual) distinction in the second person. It has long been the custom in English translation to render the 2nd singular ...
3
votes
1answer
294 views

Early Modern English second person present tense when verb ends with ‑st

In Early Modern English you normally would add ‑st or ‑est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end ...
4
votes
3answers
109 views

What does 'measuring cast' mean? (1660, UK)

Source: 'Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance', by Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal. How do you ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

The difference between thee and thou [duplicate]

“Thee” and “thou” are the pronouns in Early Modern English, I think they mean “you”, but what is the difference between them?
-1
votes
1answer
26 views

How do you parse 'by this which is said'? (1654 UK)

Preface: I first encountered the following on p 83, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (2012) by Prof Sharon Kaye (MA PhD in Philosophy, U. Toronto). I already tried, but do not see a modern ...
56
votes
3answers
2k views

What animal is a “weefil”?

What animal is depicted in this image labelled “weefil”?
7
votes
6answers
381 views

“As I am wo/man” in Twelfth Night, II, 2 (Shakespeare): a case of indefinite article omission or no?

Are "As I am man" and "As I am woman" in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, II, 2 examples of indefinite article omission or not? This question is (e)specially directed towards those familiar with ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

What was the usage of EModE’s four-form system for answering yes–no questions?

It is well-known that Early Modern English, if not earlier forms of English too, had a four-form system for answering yes–no questions. ‘Yea’ and ‘nay’ answered questions phrased positively (analogous ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

Why did final -ie become so popular during early Modern English?

A hallmark of Early Modern English is that it exhibits a lot of variance between the use of final -y and -ie. In the 16th century -ie is even found in Old English words, eg stonie. And Mulcaster in ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Ridpath's Boethius translation

I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I'll do it anyway. I am a student from Austria and one of our professors has given us a task which seems rather demanding. He wants us to analyze ...
5
votes
4answers
235 views

News lacks plural but what about TIDINGS?

News is used only in the singular (being one of the uncountable nouns). There is an old-fashioned word meaning pretty much the same - tidings, so my question is: Is this expression used only in ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

What is the grammatical designation of “that” in “…that she may have…”?

The following sentence is the Modern English translation of a line from the Old English poem Judith: He (God) advanced a gracious favour to her, that she may have a steadfast faith. My question ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

What does “ioyning” mean?

From Butter’s news serial, 2nd August, 1622: The certaine Newes of this preſent Weeke. BROVGHT BY SVNDRY Poſts from ſeuerall places, but chiefly the progreſſe and arriuall of ...
0
votes
1answer
537 views

Earlier in the day meaning? [closed]

Today ,while reading news paper I came across the sentence "she had gone shopping earlier in the day " ....what does it mean ......? My conjecture "yesterday ?
3
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Roger Ascham his language

As I was finishing Ascham's "Toxophilus" I've stumbled over this phrase, the meaning of which remained unclear to me: "An other wil stand poyntinge his shafte at the marke a good whyle and by and by ...
1
vote
2answers
44 views

Is there a resource for viewing all the languages? [closed]

Maybe this is the wrong website, but is there a link to see all the languages (current and past)?
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Thank thou or Thank thee

How would Shakespeare have said "Thank you"? Can't decide if it is thee or thou, since it isn't really a sentence.
0
votes
3answers
157 views

How did you know when to say “thing haveth or something”? [duplicate]

I have been watching Hocus Pocus and wondered how people in the 1800s knew when to add eth on the end of words.
3
votes
2answers
94 views

A word or term for driver /car taking no passengers

I need a term or a single word in traditional English or modern English which specifies "a car which has nothing but the driver & empty seats" Please help.
-1
votes
1answer
95 views

Childhood, English(England) rhymes are so disappointing,why? [closed]

When I was a kid, I was taught these poems: Georgie porgie Humpty Dumpty I know Humpty Dumpty was actually a canon, but still it was taught as Egg twins. So only take it on context of rhyme. Piggy ...
0
votes
0answers
104 views

What governed present subjunctive uses in archaic English?

Source, para 4 : p 2 of 2, 'Against YA', by Ruth Graham, slate.com Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this. I know, I know: Live and let ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

18th century phrase, the “Great End”

In the grant for the Philips Academy there is language which I find difficult to ascertain the real meaning. From the bottom of page 463 here ...to lay the foundation of a free public School or ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What does “gages and safety pledges” mean in Henry VIII era English?

What does gages and safety pledges mean in this old passage, and when is the Octave of St. Michael? The King to the Sheriff of Notthinghamshire: greeting. If John Smith shall make you secure to ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Archaic English new words: from a Nigerian [closed]

A Nigerian Governor was being interviewed by a local Television station. He was speaking of the political situation of Rivers state in Nigeria. Nigeria is an English speaking country because it was a ...
12
votes
4answers
851 views

Principles in the use of letters 'b', 'u' and 'v' in Early Modern English typography

I have been reading a medical book by one late surgeon Thomas Gale. I was wondering the following mix-up of letters 'u','v' and 'b'. This states: "to have the cure of". Letter 'u' is used in the ...
7
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
405 views

Word to describe the structure that holds/stores a shield (and possibly other weapons)

I am looking for a word that would used to describe either many shields, or a structure that would be used to carry them in storage. If I look at this medieval photo, there is a wooden structure on ...
11
votes
2answers
252 views

Odd possessive form of a proper name: Why does Dryden write “Lord Nonsuch his” instead of “Lord Nonsuch’s” but “Bibber’s” instead of “Bibber his”?

While researching a question posed on EL&U, I came across this list of the characters in John Dryden’s The Wild Gallant (1663), from a 1735 collection of Dryden’s works: DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

“Up with the… ” (complete the saying for waking up early) [closed]

If you wake up early, what is the saying for this? Beginning with the words: "Up with the..."
6
votes
3answers
1k 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
866 views

What does the word 'Joll' mean in 18th century English?

What does joll mean in the following sentence? ... give him the upper or right hand, and walk not just even with him cheek be joll, but a little behind him, yet not so distant as that it shall be ...
1
vote
1answer
616 views

Is English considered easier to learn than most of the other languages in the world? [closed]

In comparison to the other languages, I think English is much more simpler. For example, compared to French, English nouns have no gender, adjectives have only one form and verbs have extremely simple ...
13
votes
2answers
948 views

“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)
4
votes
3answers
307 views

Where can I find a modern English version of King James’s “Counterblaste to Tobacco”?

I find A Counterblaste to Tobacco by James I very interesting. Many people are under the impression that anti-tobacco sentiment began in the last century, and this document pretty thoroughly refutes ...
8
votes
3answers
695 views

Explanation of a sentence in “Adam lay ybounden”

In the carol "Adam lay ybounden", there's a line that goes: As clerkes finden, written in their book Is "finden" the infinitive form of "find"? I thought it should be "found" or maybe "would ...
37
votes
5answers
25k views

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 ...
3
votes
5answers
133 views

No direct object in 'give thee faithfully to follow' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington)

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington If the Lord would show thee but this one thing, -- that to use "thee" and "thou" to a particular person is proper ...
2
votes
4answers
472 views

What would be the modern equivalent for “a curtain lecture”?

I chanced on this expression while reading a book by David Crystal. In a chapter dedicated to words that have disappeared from the English language, he mentions this gem in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary:...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

What's the subject of 'mind not so much to know' ? (1670 UK, Isaac Penington) [duplicate]

Source: Para 5, Isaac Penington to Widow Hemmings (1670), by Isaac Penington The Lord so guide thee, manifest himself to thee, help thee, and lead thee by his Holy Spirit and power, as that thou ...
0
votes
1answer
191 views

What is the early modern equivalent of ' I think ' [closed]

Would the term 'I think' be used in this era? I'm looking at translation for a piece of art, I'm wanting to translate flippant/meaningless language from today (things people say drunk, tweets etc.) ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k 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? ...
2
votes
3answers
232 views

Figurative meaning of 'suit' - 1615 UK?

Source: p 105, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard It is encapsulated in the difficult seventeenth-century language of Lampleigh v Braithwait (1615): A mere ...
4
votes
4answers
485 views

Why did the KJV use “thou” toward God?

The word "thou" (and similar variations of the Latin tu in other languages) was used between people for informal speech, and talking to people of lower standing. So why did people use it (most ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

What does Abigail Adams mean by 'Score of misfortune' (1778 November, US)?

Original Source. Google Source: p 168, The Portable John Adams, by John Adams AA to JA [Braintree, 12-23 November 1778] I have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a Heart too ...