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home > Enregisterment of thou in Eighteenth-Century Plays

Enregisterment of thou in Eighteenth-Century Plays

Ayumi Nonomiya
First published:
2021 / 1 / 30
Price (in Japan only):
6,200 yen (Tax Not Included) (276 pages)


This is a study on the use of the second person pronoun THOU in eighteenth-century English plays based on a corpus compiled from ten tragedies and ten comedies. Although THOU had largely fallen out of use in Standard English by the eighteenth century, it was still used in dramas, especially in tragedies. This study hypothesises that the high frequency of THOU in theatrical English, particularly in grave drama, is due to enregisterment. THOU became enregistered through the influence of Elizabethan dramas, in which THOU was still an active part of the personal pronoun system. This change would also account for the shift in the usage of THOU from ‘casual/intimate’ to ‘formal/elevated’. This study also discusses and compares the use of other second person pronouns you and ye, and other address terms to establish broader context.


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Previous studies

Chapter 3 The influence of Elizabethan dramatists on eighteenth-century dramas

Chapter 4 Enregisterment

Chapter 5 Pilot study

Chapter 6 THOU and YOU in eighteenth-century plays

Chapter 7 THOU and YOU in the tragedies

Chapter 8 Comedies

Chapter 9 Aside and apostrophe

Chapter 10 Second person pronoun ye

Chapter 11 Address terms in the eighteenth-century plays

Chapter 12 Conclusion

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