I was chatting with some friends recently about my tendency to address everyone as “tu” instead of showing respect to people I don’t know (specifically professors and office workers at Polytechnique) by using “vous” instead. It’s kind of awkward because they always respond by addressing me as “vous” and then I remember and feel bad and try to correct myself and it becomes a whole thing. (For people who don’t know, “tu” and “vous” are the singular and plural translations of “you”, respectively, but “tu” is for friends and peers while “vous” is for everyone else, or plurals.)
Anyways, it’s interesting in the English language that we actually use the more formal “vous” all the time: Cedric reminded me that “you” is actually plural. The singular version would be “thou”. Canst thou imagine if we used it nowadays in regular conversations? I.e. What shall thou do this night? What didst thou getst for the first homework problem? Dost thou wish to dine with me?
Also for some reason I always feel the need to add an extra “st” to the verb, like it’s a different conjugation or something: I do, thou dost, he/she/it does… Totally legit.
A quick note about the title of this post – when my brother and I were younger (I’m talking over a decade ago), we (well, mostly me) played this computer game (with a read CD and everything!) that involved solving different types of puzzles to help Dr. Thaddeaus Puzzle Brain the Third (an elderly absent-minded professor, obviously) free his brain from a jar (or something along those lines). The reason I mention this game is because the brain-in-a-jar said, “Me thinks thou dost protest too much!” whenever we tried to exit the game. Poor guy.
Lastly, I always thought the Ten Commandments in the Bible were written super fancily to inspire reverence and respect. Turns out God was just talking to us as friends. That’s nice of him.