Actually, precisely as in English, there is a little known informal pronoun "ci" equivalent to "thou". It is mostly seen in poems and the Bible in both languages.
Actually "you" or "ye" are the formal ones:
"..., thou was later used to express intimacy, familiarity or even disrespect, while another pronoun, you, the oblique/objective form of ye, was used for formal circumstances" "The fact that early English translations of the Bible used the familiar form of the second person in no way indicates "disrespect" and is not surprising. The familiar form is used when speaking to God, ..."
Responding to Smalde here: That is mostly what I said. I don't see your contradiction.
According to Oxford Dictionaries (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/thou), thee, thou, thine, etc. are all 2nd person singular. It didn't say anything about formal or informal. So... back to Esperanto... Was "ci" patterned after an informal usage as in Spanish, or a singular/plural distinction as in King James English?
@Tracy906994: According to my Webster's Third New International Dictionary and to a site about Shakespeare, we are both right on the "thou" vs "you" argument. And about the second part of your comment, Esperanto does not distinguish between singular and plural in either 2nd person pronoun unless you add a few extra words. It comes from a major characteristic in Indo-European languages in Europe derived from and influenced by Latin, which later evolved to convey differences in class and power in the Middle Ages apparently because of a plural's power to denote royalty and nobility (think the royal "we"), leading to informal and formal qualities of the two versions of the 2nd person pronoun, which is Esperanto took after with "ci" and "vi".
@Tracy906994: You are welcome. As a final note, I forget if this was in one of my links, but I remembered reading how it's ironic that nowadays "you" is for normal everyday interactions whereas "thou" is viewed as archaic, fancy, and maybe even posh, which completely switches around how "thou" was for informal use and "you" for formal use.
@Smalde: The same is true in Esperanto. "Ci" was originally an informal variant of singular "vi", but practically speaking now completely fallen into disuse.
If I remember correctly... in old English, thou was singular-you and "you" was specifically plural (or y'all, for the southerners). Is that the same thing "ci" versus "vi"?
@Tracy906994: Google's origin feature says "thou" is from "thu" and "you" is from "eow" and "ge" in Old English, but in Middle English, "thou" was the informal variant and "you" was the formal variant of referring to a person that you are directly speaking to (i.e. second-person point of view). "Ye" was the plural variant of "thou", and "you" has always been both singular and plural. The difference between "thou" and "you" is comparable to Spanish's "tú" and "usted".
MailmaSpy, thank you for the links. I found the Shakespearewords one especially fascinating with all the examples. I don't recall any of that when I studied Brit. Lit. in highschool. But any way you look at it, something is lost in our modern usage of "you." Thanks again for the clarification on the subject.
ACtually, "ci" is NOT an informal pronoun. Zamenhof himself said that that particular nuance was because of OUTSIDE influence of other languages. There is no nuance of informality or familiarity inherent in the word.
This is why I have been having some difficulty translating prayers. "Thou" and "Thee" when conversing with God have been translated as "Vi" not "Ci". Shouldn't the informal be used in holy writings? In Spanish it is always translated as "Tu".
Mi pardonpetas, mi estas komecanto. My dictionary (Wells) says: ci [pronoun] thou (used only for special literary effect)
The phrase that I am trying to translate from English is "...Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee." I have a translation that says Vi (capitalized), but that translates to "You". Which is correct, Vi or Ci?
Thank you so much for your references! My solution will be to find a friend who speaks Persian (Farsi) and ask him about the original language, rather than trying to translate it from English.
Omg, I am always confused in sentences with vi. I always translate vi as we...
The Danish word for "we" is literally spelled and pronounced "vi". Often gets me if I'm not concentrating properly!
Anyone else hear that dancas as if it was dansas? I don't hear any sts sound there. Just s.
As with many old folks, my high frequency hearing is gone. It plummets between 6 an 7 kHz. I also have tinnitus. Plus there's an audiobook of Gulliver's Travels wafting in from the other room, and the neighbors are doing the laundry, so I don't know if the t is not pronounced, or lost in recording, transmission and playback, or my hearing, or just too new at Esperanto.
I have difficulty at times distinguishing between the speaker's consonants. Since I am fairly early in this process, clarity is "tre grava" and even without tinnitus, loud neighbors, etc., I have trouble understanding the speaker in those "type what you hear" questions, especially the pronouns.
In English, we would say when "do" you dance together -- I was looking for the "do" word too. Evidently it is understood in Esperanto.
Actually, like spanish, it's the high tone at the end of the sentence what gives the "question" form. English just switch words (you are are you) or uses auxiliary verbs as do (Esperanto uses cxu as well but this is not the case).
So, again like Spanish, this could be either a question or an answer. For example (In esperanto/english/spanish so can spot the similarities):
As an answer
- Mi ne sxatas kiam vi dancas kune (I don't like when you dance together / No me gusta cuando bailan juntos)
As a question
Kiam vi dancas kune? (When do you dance together? / Cuándo bailan juntos?)
Morgaux (Tomorrow / Mañana)
Disclaimer: I am not an Esperanto expert, I just tried to follow logic here, so correct me if I'm wrong.
The question doesnt make a lot of sence (as the answer would inevitably be: Just now, open your eyes man!) - it must be "dancis" or "dancos".
Why isn't "dancas" in either the form of "danci" or "dancos" since nothing is happening in the present?
It actually is present. The sentence, converted to be a statement, would be "You dance together", which is quite present to me and most others.