Space Filler: You

Just to kill some time before going to work (7 day weeks gets real old, real fast) where the word “you” comes from.

In the 1600’s the letter “y” was a abbreviation for the sound “th”.  We’ve all seen the sign saying, “Ye Olde Tavern.”  Ye is pronounced The.  In reading the writings of Newton you see him use this extensively.  He wrote, “…ye and yat“, for the and that.

Now we come to my theory–I’ve never seen this anywhere else–but, I’m sure that some historian has said this before.  In writing “thou” in the olden days they would write you.  This was adopted and adapted by the general populace as “you”.  The change in pronunciation was from the profound influence of the French language on English.  

And that is why, to this day, many groups will not use the word “you”.  It’s not really true English.


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    • Boise Lib on November 24, 2007 at 8:35 pm
  1. it is the English language.

    Love the History lesson though!


  2. Word origins are so interesting.

    Idiot seems to be one of my favorite derisive terms lately (especially when driving or listening to the so-called news). When I heard/read that the origin is from the ancient Greek Idiota, I’ve used the Greek instead. It just softens it somehow 🙂

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