Y is the letter for this week's ABC Wednesday. So, here is a bit of trivia about two words we use a lot.
A long time ago, when you answered "Yes" to a negative question, you were really saying "No." For example, if someone asked, "You don't want to die, do you?" The other person replied, "Yes!" To reply affirmatively to a question, one said "Yea." How very confusing, no?
The word you comes from Old English. Back then, people had a singular and plural form for you. When addressing a specific person, they used thou, as "Thou sings well." When talking to more than one person, out came the you: "You (all) sing well."
As Old English moved forward into modern English times, people began to use you as a form of respect for talking to strangers and for those they considered socially higher than them. The use of thou, contrary to how we think of it today, was for familiar use. "Hey, thou! How's it going?"
Yawn. . . . I wonder how that word came to be. Could it somehow be related to the word yon?
To read other Y posts by ABC Wednesday participants, click here. But, wouldn't you like to check out the George Harrison song, "You," first?