Monday, December 19, 2005

312 Thus sayeth the Lord

Two years ago my bookclub was reading "In the Beginning," which is about the King James transation of the Bible. I wrote the comment in my other blog, which was my only one then:

"But most interesting was learning that the verb forms ending in “-eth” were most likely pronounced as “s” in the early 17th century. English isn’t phonetic in many words (through, tough, plough), and although the people were pronouncing “sayeth“ as “says” and “giveth” as “gives,” a hundred years later when the 1611 version really became almost universally used, no one corrected the pronunciation while reading. There are no recordings of how people spoke. The closest we have to English as spoken in the 17th and 18th century is our own Appalachian people in the U.S., since it is no longer spoken in England."

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