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Re: singular or plural of "you"

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  • gdbedell
    This is a problem of English rather than Pali. English you is the same whether it refers to one person or more than one. (In earlier English, you was
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 13, 2009
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      This is a problem of English rather than Pali. English 'you' is the same whether it refers to
      one person or more than one. (In earlier English, 'you' was plural as opposed to 'thou'; in
      modern English 'thou' is obsolete and 'you' is also singular.) Pali has different forms for
      second person pronouns (tva.m or tumhe) and usually also different verb forms which
      agree with them as subjects.

      'You' should be translated as tva.m when it refers to one person and as tumhe when it
      refers to more than one. (Except that as a subject, 'you' will often not be translated at all,
      but inferred from the agreeing verb.) So how do we know whether 'you' refers to one
      person or more than one? Only from the context. If there is no context (as may be the
      case with exercises in text books), then the English is ambiguous from the point of view of
      Pali, and either translation is correct.

      George Bedell

      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "dipaeightprecepter" <dipaeightprecepter@...> wrote:
      >
      > I have found that the subject and the verb consistently are the same
      > in regard to being singular and plural. This helps when the subject is
      > not the word "you". When the subject is "you" how do you determine
      > whether it is singular or plural? tva.m or tumhe?
      >
      > I have figured out that the direct object goes directly before the
      > verb so that question seems to be resolved. Any help on the plurality
      > or singularity of "you" would be greatly appreciated.
      >
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