One of the hardest things about reading Classic stories is cracking the “code” of the old-fashioned language. That “code” usually involves two different types of vocabulary hurdles — words with unknown definitions and words with unknown grammatical patterns. In our previous blog post we discussed one of the typical grammatical patterns seen in Classics, second person pronouns (thou, thee, thy, etc.). Another common pattern revolves around 2nd and 3rd person verb endings that have since changed. Today our vocabulary words for Ch. 6 are…
HATH, HAST, DOTH, CANST, SHALT, WILT, THOU’LT
Hopefully you can see by looking at these words what they have in common, especially when looking at the word endings. Keep reading or watch the video below to connect the dots completely!
The chart above shows shows all of the words and their modern-day equivalents, as well as a description that helps to reveal the pattern. For the most part if you just substitue the “Tudor” version of the word with the modern English word that looks close to it, you’ll be just fine.
But technically the pattern revolves around Middle English verb endings. Originally the ending -est was used for 2nd person singular verbs (when talking to “you”). For example, I might say “You knowest the truth,” (except I would say “Thou knowest the truth,” technically.) The -th/-eth ending was used for 3rd person singular verbs (when talking about a person, like ‘he’ or ‘she’). For example you would say “He knoweth the truth.”
Over time, the -est ending disappeared. You’ll notice in examples like ‘knowest’, we’ve just dropped that ending and now we just say ‘you know’. For the -(e)th ending, it changed to an ‘s’. So now we would say ‘he knows’.
Original Sentence: Since he hath said it, it must be true.
Sentence from the chapter: “‘The King hath said it. None may palter with the King’s command, or fit it to his ease, where it doth chafe, with deft evasions. The King shall be obeyed.’” (p. 28)
But wait, there’s more!
Here are a few idioms where you can find this week’s vocab words:
- Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
- Methinks the lady doth protest too much
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