Tu-wit, Du-woo as familiarity takes over on Twitter

Posted on by Mike Evans

Tu, the singular and familiar pronoun in French, is edging out vous on Twitter and other social networks according to BBC News. Perhaps it's because it is half the length and makes for less Twitter clutter, but most probably it is just a reflection of social change.

It is happening also in German, where Du is outgunning Sie, both in real life and in cyberlife, among the younger age group. It is happening in other European languages, including Greek, to my present knowledge. But English went through this linguistic hurdle over 300 years ago and opted for the formal, plural "you" instead of the familiar, singular "thou".

This is one of the reasons we native English speakers have such an easy time of it grammatically. It is one of the reasons it is so easy to learn the basics of English and why billions are attempting it as I write. Unfortunately, beneath its simple crust, English is a deeply difficult language to master.

If thou art interested in the whys and wherefores of thy pronouns, seest thou this feature article I added today.

by Mike Evans, 7 September 2012

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