This study investigates the morpho-syntactic variability of the second person pronouns in the Shakespeare Corpus, seeking to elucidate the factors that underlie their choice. The major part of the work is devoted to analyzing the variation between you and thou, but it also includes chapters that deal with the variation between thy and thine and between ye and you. Methodologically, the study makes use of descriptive statistics, but incorporates both quantitative and qualitative features, drawing in particular on research methods recently developed within the fields of corpus linguistics, socio-historical linguistics and historical pragmatics. By making comparisons to other corpora on Early Modern English the work does not only contribute to Shakespeare studies, but on a broader scale also to language change by providing new and more detailed insights into the mechanisms that have led to a restructuring of the pronoun paradigm in the Early Modern period.
1. Preface and acknowledgements; 2. Abbreviations; 3. 1. General introduction; 4. 2. Previous research on the use of personal pronouns in Early Modern English with special reference to Shakespeare's plays; 5. 3. Thou and you: A quantitative analysis; 6. 4. The distribution of thou and you and their variants in verse and prose; 7. 5. "A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion": Address pronouns in Shakespeare's Sonnets and other Elizabethan poetry; 8. 6. "You beastly knave, know you no reverence?": The co-occurrence of second person pronouns and nominal forms of address; 9. 7. "Prithee no more" vs. "Pray you, chuck, come hither": Prithee and pray you as discourse markers; 10. 8. The role of grammar in the selection of thou or you; 11. 9. "In thine own person answer thy abuse": The use of thy vs. thine; 12. 10. "Stand, sir, and throw us that you have about ye": The syntactic, pragmatic and social implications of the pronoun ye; 13. 11. Summary and conclusion; 14. Appendix: Mitchell's Corpus of British Drama (1580-1780); 15. Notes; 16. References; 17. Name index; 18. Subject index