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Elizabethan as a Second Language (or how to speak Britannian)

Pray Pardon and Gramercy

(or Please and Thank You - Minding your P's and Q's)

Elizabethan (and so Britannian) is more than just throwing around some thees and thous or hails and fare thee wells. There are many terms that are no longer used in modern society that were commonplace in Elizabethan society. These terms are referred to by modern linguists as "Archaic". Granted we may call an IBM 486 computer "archaic" and in that sense it's a bad thing but if you want to speak the speech of Elizabethans or Britannians then Archaic is definitely"in". Some of these terms are already widely used by players in UO. If I had a dime for every "aye" and "nay" in my journal I would be rich, but there are more terms and phases we should be aware of and these should be used in our everyday conversations. There are also many modern terms and phrases that we should never use!

Archaic Terms and Phrases
Lesson Three
Let's take a look at the example I gave at the end of Lesson Two:

"Thou didst flamestrike the gazer well, Good Mistress Aine, way cool!"

I'm sorry, this just does not work! This is not just a poor example it's a BAD example. Avoid modern contrivances like the plague! Do not use terms like: Cool, Way Cool, No Way, Far Out (which is almost archaic now in it's own right), or Wow. Even phrases like "You're Kidding!', or "You're Joking!" should be avoided and the popular j/k (short for "just kidding") is right out! Never use "OK". Stray away from "I guess". Avoid "Do you know?" and "Ya' know?". All of these terms and phrases have alternatives that I will show you "forthwith".
(Forthwith means "Very soon", "Almost at once", "Without Delay")

There are; however, some modern words that can be used. There is nothing wrong with using Yes and No (these two words were used in Elizabethan times) yet there are more colorful ways of saying many of these still acceptable terms. First we will look at that which so many of you already know and use - "Aye" and "Nay".

Yes and no are totally acceptable but these are more colorful!
This is acceptable
This is MUCH more colorful
Aye (sounds like Eye)
Yea (rhymes with day)
Nay (rhymes with day)

Appending some descriptive term after Yea makes a nice touch. "Verily"; an archaic term meaning "Truly", was often used to affirm the "yes" statement as in "Yea verily" ("Yes truly").

Lord Termir: "Hast thou seen the Mistress Lilac?"
Peasant Fisherman: "Yea verily, good my Lord Termir. I did see her at yon stable".

You can use "Yea Verily" to start off a sentence like "Yea verily, I did go to Yew. . . " but that would get old fast if yea verily is all you ever used. There are other colorful terms and phrases like "Forsooth" or "In sooth" (sooth means truth) that can be used as exclamations or as the beginning or end of a sentence. "In Sooth, I did go to Yew and there did kill a Lich!"

Here is a list of some other colorful terms and phrases together with their meanings.

Term or Phrase

Sooth is another word for truth.

In sooth
In good sooth
In Troth
Troth is yet another word for truth
By my troth
Meaning "Truthfully"
A kind of an oath. "Marry" refers to St. Mary and although the reformation frowned upon this use it was still seen in everyday conversation. It means basically,
"By Saint Mary".
I vouchsafe
Meaning: "I vouch (assert) that this is true".

Experiment with these and the next time someone asks you if you did some thing or other tell them "By my troth" rather than yes or yea. If you get a look that could curdle new milk simply explain what the term means. Take the opportunity to "enlighten the great unwashed of Britannia". Who knows? Before long you may hear the "King's" English from players everywhere!

As I mentioned above avoid terms like "OK" or "All right". Modern exclamations have no place in proper Elizabethan or Britannian. Use terms like "Good" or "Good now" for OK and adding "Me" after "I think" gives a nice touch. "I think me thou art most kind Mistress Lavender". "Methinks" was another widely used term meaning "I am thinking that . . ". Instead of "Maybe" use "Mayhap" (it may happen). "Mayhap the Orcs await thee east of Delucia, go thou softly there."

Here are some archaic exclamations to use in place of modern ones.

Use these terms and phrases
Instead of these terms and phrases
Good now
To use in place of OK
To use in place of:
I think
I guess
I daresay

"Methinks the dragon is dead!"
I trow   (Believe)
I think me
Know you
To use in place of: Do you know? or Ya' know?
"Knowest thou the Road to Vesper?"
"Know you not the way to Cove?"
Trow you
Knowest thou
To use in place of Maybe or Perhaps

"To sleep, perchance to dream . . "

"Mayhap the kind Mistress Arwen will accompany us upon our journey."
Go to!
To use in place of:
Really? No kidding? Ya' sure?

"Go to! I wouldst think it not possible!"
Is it even so?
E'en so?
Forsooth or Insooth?
Away! - Away with thee!
To use instead of "Get out of here!"
"Away with thee, foul beast!"
Marry!    (By St. Mary)
To use in place of:
Wow! Too cool! Way cool!

"Marry! Tis a fine leather tunic!"

"I'faith! Four Golems didst thou slay!"
Now, by my faith!
I'Faith!    (In faith!)
God - a - mercy! (God have mercy)
To be used in place of:
Oh, no! Ohh that's too bad! etc.
God's Me! (God save me!)
'Ods Me! (God save me!)
Well a day
This is an oath or a cry of surprise, shock or amazement. It is a contraction of "Christ's Wounds". The word was pronounced Swoonds (never "zounds"). You may decide for yourself if you wish to use the correct spelling in the game or use the spelling "Swoonds" (in order to help others "hear" the word in our text based environment).

To use in place of:

Any "four letter" word such as Darn! Damn! Damnit! (and others I will not mention here).

"Fie me! I be me in need of regs!"

"Out upon it! This dungeon be too fearsome and foul!"

Fie me!
Out upon it!

Elizabethans commonly swore oaths (or exclaimed) by parts of God such as in "God's Teeth!" or "God's Death!" the latter referring to Christ's death on the cross. These oaths were not considered vain or disrespectful. Some players; however, may not understand the use of these oaths and it is up to you to decide whether you wish to use them or not.

Substituting proper archaic terms and phrases for modern ones will give your in-game speech that certain Elizabethan/Britannian flavor. Practice using them while playing and you may find their use will become second nature. Above all else have fun with them, experiment and don't be afraid to use them.

Please and Thank you

Are you tired of seeing rude players near the Brit bank yelling to the crowd: "Give me gold! Give me regs! Give me, give me, give me!" While it is true that beggars can't be choosers they also cannot afford to be rude! No one wants to help a rude or demanding player. I might be more inclined to help a player who walks up to me and says:

"Pray pardon, Goodman Barleycorn. Prithee, wouldst thou be so kind as to spare me a few gold that I might by regs to recall me home?"

Upon giving the gold I would like to hear:

"Gramercy, Good Sir Barleycorn, for thy kindness".

(Granted, this small scenario is NOT likely to happen, yet if we use such kindness and courtesy to others in the game we may see a little kindness and courtesy in return).

Let's look at some of the new terms in the exchange above. The beggar starts out with "Pray Pardon". Well, pardon is fairly obvious - we use the word today in "I beg your pardon". In affect we are begging the person to "pardon" (or forgive) our intrusion into his busy day. To pray is simply to ask or to beseech so we see that pray pardon translates to something like "Please forgive my intrusion" (Pray "please" - Pardon "forgive"). Today we might simply say "Excuse me".

Prithee is a contraction of "Pray Thee" (I beseech thee or ask thee). Today we might say:
"Might I ask you if . . . "

In his thank you statement the beggar says "Gramercy" another contraction of sorts meaning "Grant Mercy" from the longer version "(May) God Grant (you) Mercy". One way of thanking a kind soul for a good deed was to bestow this wish upon him that God would grant him Mercy in view of his kindness.

Now that you have learned what the archaic Gramercy means, I must tell you that "Thank you" is acceptable in slightly different forms. The beggar could have said: "Great and many thankings" or "Many and hearty thankings" or something to that affect. "Many good thanks" is also perfectly acceptable. Take a look at some other forms of pardon me, please and thank you.

Use these for "Excuse me" or "Pardon me"
I cry you mercy!
Use for "I beg your pardon".
"Pray pardon, M'lord, prithee show me to the mage shoppe?"
I crave your pardon
Pray pardon
Use these for "Please"
An it please you (or thee)
"An" is an archaic from of the word "if"
"If it pleases you . . . "

"An it please Your Grace I wilt go straightway unto the city of Minoc, there to seek the Shadow Iron ingots you do require for your smith".
I pray you (or thee)
Use these for "Thank you"
God grant you mercy
In UO "Many good thanks" might mean more to a player than "Gramercy". Yet if we use these lesser known terms we have an opportunity to share our knowledge of the language. Instead of using "God grant you mercy" try a "Gramercy Kind Sir "and see if you get a "huh?" or a "You're welcome".
"Gramercy, Goodman Califax. Thou didst save me from yon host of brigands".
Grant you mercy
Many good thanks
Many and hearty thankings
God Yield you or thee
(or God 'ild you or thee)

Has a warrior just saved your fruit bearing pack horse from being made toast by a renegade and not too friendly fire elemental? You may try using:
"Many and hearty thankings; Good Sir Knight, for saving mine apples!"

"Here and there" or "Hither, Thither and Yon"

Although Elizabethans used words like Here and There, a more colorful way of saying these words is to use Hither, Thither and Yon. Hither means the same as Here and Thither can be used in place of There. Instead of "come here to this side of the road . . " say:

"Come ye to the hither side of the road; my Good Gentles, that we might slay these Bone Knights that do cause much anguish to travelers who do pass this way".

Instead of saying "go there to the blacksmith . . " say

"Go ye thither unto yon blacksmith that you might mend your shields".

(Note that in both examples we are talking to more than one person as can be seen by the use of the word "Ye". More about thee, thou and ye will be covered later in "Thees & Thous").

Yonder was a word much in use and meant "farther away than there" or in some cases the same as our modern phrase "over there". It could also mean a vague" out there somewhere".

"Whilst shopping for regs this day I didst go here, there and yonder in my search".

Yonder can also be shortened to Yon (over there).

"Get thee unto yon tailor and buy there cloth for bandages whilst I tarry here for thee".

Just as thither is farther than here, yon is farther than this or that.

"Go ye past this butcher's (this) , and past that baker's (that) to yon Ploughman's Market".

Use these words in place of their more modern counterparts.

Use this sometimes
Instead of using this all of the time
Here, Over here.
There, Over there.
Off in that direction, Over that way.
Away off over there.

Elizabethans (especially the peasant and middle class) LOVED to gossip. An archaic name for a person who was a chronic gossip was "flibbertigibbet" (pronounced flib - ber - ti - gibbet). Say that three times real fast! Women in the market places or the washing wells loved to do the old "he said, she said" routine and the men in the taverns were just as bad. An archaic way of saying "said" was to use the word "Quoth". Use quoth I or quoth he or she as in this example:

"I goes me to the smith in Delucia to the fellow who does sell the deeds of repair, "Master Smith", quoth I "hast thou deeds to sell?"

"Aye, Marry do I," quoth he, "they be seven hundred gold a piece!"

"Out upon it!", quoth I, "Tis six times more than they be worth!"

"Then hie thee hence to the city of Minoc", quoth he, "where there be smiths a plenty!"

(Hie thee hence means "go you to" or "get you out" at once - immediately)

Even if you can't sound like the Bard of Avon himself (William Shakespeare) you can throw some of these terms into your everyday UO speech and you will sound closer to it. As always, have fun with it, try some mixing and matching and come up with some of your own contrivances.

In many cases speaking proper Elizabethan (or Britannian) means to speak IMPROPER modern English! Superlatives and Double Negatives are not acceptable in our modern tongue and will more than likely get you a poor grade on your next book report. Next time we shall see how some of these unacceptable uses were completely acceptable in Elizabethan English. We will also take a look at some common contractions of the time (such as Tis for "it is") and learn which modern contractions (such as "it's" for it "it is") to throw out! Confused? Then read on . . .
Or as the Elizabethans might say, "Go ye then therefore that ye might know of it".

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