Te versus Vobis?

Columbanus

New Member

Good morning!

I have been polishing up a document for the Divine Mercy chaplet in Latin that I've been using for several months now. I added a piece from one source into another one, but have always wondered at something. In one, the prayer says:

Iesu, in te confido
and in the other it says

Iesu, in vobis confido
I wish to standardize to just one or the other, so I went searching on the net. But after about 30m, didn't find an answer explaining so as to figure out which to adopt permanently.
In French, TU and VOUS are distinctive in that TU is more impersonal and informal, whereas one would use VOUS to show respect.
Is this something similar to Latin, by any chance? Or am I completely off base?

I found only this reference: https://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Latin/Grammar/Latin-Pronouns_personal_and_se.html
but I don't understand what to make of it since I know next to nothing about Latin. From this page above, it does seem to me that I should use TE which means "Thee", instead of VOBIS ... (?)

Please advise, what does anyone think?


Thank you!
 

Clemens

Aedilis

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The traditional texts of the Mass and the Office always use tu (and its other forms) to address God/Jesus.
 

scrabulista

Consul

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As far as I know, Clemens is right; vobis is plural and te is singular.
I want to say in mythology (say Aeneid or Metamorphoses), you might find an instance where a Roman god refers to himself in the plural as a king might.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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In classical Latin, the second person plural pronoun was never used to address a single person. The singular was used no matter the status of the person addressed (even if you were addressing your boss or a king, it was tu).

Later on, I think sometime in late antiquity, the plural began occasionally to be used for respectful address to emperors and the like.

However, it certainly is unusual as an address to God or Jesus. I'm not sure I've ever seen it used there.
 

Pacifica

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Location:
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I want to say in mythology (say Aeneid or Metamorphoses), you might find an instance where a Roman god refers to himself in the plural as a king might.
Nos for ego is actually pretty common even among mere mortals. In fact, in classical Latin it often conveys some kind of humility rather than a "royal we".
 

scrabulista

Consul

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So nos for ego was OK; vos for tu was not.
 

Iacobinus

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In classical Latin, the second person plural pronoun was never used to address a single person.
"Never say never" is generally a good advise: It was exceptionally used, in some polite turn of phrases, including in classical Latin.

There are reported examples of second person plural pronouns used to address a single person in letters to Cicero (from Servius Sulpicius Rufus who says vous to Cicero) or from Pliny the Younger (to his grand father in law or to Trajan) for example.
To address someone with vous is a very, very, very old practice, which seems to had appeared in the 2nd century. The main difference was that it wasn't systematized: one would mostly call someone tu and then, exceptionally, in a specific polite sentence call him vous, and then call him tu again.
 
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Pacifica

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There are reported examples of second person plural pronouns used to address a single person in letters to Cicero (from Servius Sulpicius Rufus who says vous to Cicero)
Where is that?
which seems to had appeared in the 2nd century.
Or earlier, if the statement about the letters to Cicero is true (if we can definitely say that the plural pronoun refers to Cicero alone and not to e.g. him and his family; that's what I'd like to check if you can provide the references).
 

Columbanus

New Member

lol, okay, now I'm _really_ at sea. Not 100% sure that TE versus VOBIS is like TU versus VOUS, or like YOU versus the royal WE ... :crazy: ::D Since this phrase is from the Divine Mercy chaplet and means:

Jesus I trust in you -- Iesu in te confido
should I, then actually use "vobis"? or "te"?

Is there perhaps some sort of consensus on which is preferable and more reverent?


Thank you!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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Te would be the usual way to go; there is no question about that. (All our other talk isn't directly relevant to your request; sorry!)
 

Clemens

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Furthermore, regardless of which pronouns are used in Cicero or other classical writers, in the traditional Catholic liturgy, it’s always tu/te/tibi etc.
 

Columbanus

New Member

Te would be the usual way to go; there is no question about that. (All our other talk isn't directly relevant to your request; sorry!)
Oh, phew, good. "Te" it is, then.

Oh, no worries <lol>! I enjoy learning new things and love when a question sparks dialogue as I get to be a spectator to the event, as it were, and watch with keen interest to see what comes of new lines of 'debate' that I know nothing about. It's fun stuff (not talking about being contentious and creating strife, or anything of that nature; that it's just neat when trying to clarify something, the talk can go off the track a bit down a new path of enquiry. Fun <g>.)

But glad this is sorted out as my friend and I get together twice a week to pray the rosary and lately the Divine Mercy chaplet and once or twice we've wondered at fixing this.
Now I can come back with the answer and the fix.

Thank you so much!
 

Iacobinus

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Where is that? [...] (if we can definitely say that the plural pronoun refers to Cicero alone and not to e.g. him and his family; that's what I'd like to check if you can provide the references).
In la lettre DCLII, dans laquelle Servius Sulpicius Rufus gouverneur d'Achaïe, personnage assez compassé, écrit à Cicéron pour lui annoncer l'assassinat de Marcellus. Il l'y vouvoie : « Et si scio non iucundissimum me nuntium uobis allaturum, tamen, quoniam casus et natura in nobis dominatur, uisum est faciendum, quoquo modo res se haberet, uos certiores facere.... » (Cicéron, Correspondance, éd. et trad. par L. A. Constans, Jean Bayet et Jean Beaujeu, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 8 vol., 1960-1983, Tome VIII, trad. : « Je sais que la nouvelle dont je vais vous faire part ne vous sera guère agréable ; cependant, puisque nous sommes à la merci du hasard et de la nature, j'ai cru de mon devoir de vous informer, en tout état de cause... » in Philippe Wolff, « Premières recherches sur l'apparition du vouvoiement en latin médiéval », Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1986.)

The full text is here:

(To use the grammatical plural to grant emphasis to singular beings is something that is far from being uncommon in poetry, so I don't feel that seeing the same with personal pronouns would be that surprising).

Or earlier, if the statement about the letters to Cicero is true.
I meant the 2nd century Before Christ. That is how I understood it at last. The article states that [d]eux étapes paraissent pouvoir être signalées : l'une, entre le iie et le ive siècle, c'est l'apparition du vouvoiement dans certaines formules de politesse ; mais il reste à lier à ces formules un sentiment profond de révérence, qui amène à étendre l'usage du vouvoiement à l'ensemble du discours. Perhaps that it rather excludes the cases of letters to Cicero or from Pliny from what can be really called a vouvoiement.
 
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Notascooby

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In Hebrew אלהים (elohim) is plural. Also "Let us create man in our image, after our likeness" Genesis 1:26 In the Vulgate "faciamus hominem and imaginem et similitudinem nostram(ibid).

These are often taken by Christians to be a reference to the trinity. Others take the plural to be a plural of majesty. Which things could potentially offer an explanation for your plural.
 

Pacifica

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In la lettre DCLII, dans laquelle Servius Sulpicius Rufus gouverneur d'Achaïe, personnage assez compassé, écrit à Cicéron pour lui annoncer l'assassinat de Marcellus. Il l'y vouvoie : « Et si scio non iucundissimum me nuntium uobis allaturum, tamen, quoniam casus et natura in nobis dominatur, uisum est faciendum, quoquo modo res se haberet, uos certiores facere.... » (Cicéron, Correspondance, éd. et trad. par L. A. Constans, Jean Bayet et Jean Beaujeu, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 8 vol., 1960-1983, Tome VIII, trad. : « Je sais que la nouvelle dont je vais vous faire part ne vous sera guère agréable ; cependant, puisque nous sommes à la merci du hasard et de la nature, j'ai cru de mon devoir de vous informer, en tout état de cause... » in Philippe Wolff, « Premières recherches sur l'apparition du vouvoiement en latin médiéval », Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1986.)
I don't think we can say for certain that the plural pronouns refer to Cicero alone (as opposed to "you all over there"), but maybe. Interesting.
I meant the 2nd century Before Christ.
l'une, entre le iie et le ive siècle
That certainly refers to AD, not BC. (For several reasons, but notably: if it referred to BC, the order "entre le ive et le iie siècle" would be more correct.)
Perhaps that it rather excludes the cases of letters to Cicero or from Pliny from what can be really called a vouvoiement.
Pliny lived partly in the second century, so it could fit (depending which letters are referred to). Maybe it indeed excludes the letter to Cicero because of the uncertainty that I mentioned above.
 

Iacobinus

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the order "entre le ive et le iie siècle" would be more correct
Not if the 2nd is BC and the 4th is AD (which was my understanding, I thought it was explicit, actually, because of the order that you underline): Cicero, Pliny and Symmachus.
But perhaps that Cicero -and arguably Pliny- were excluded from this timeline, which is surprising, I feel, considering they are both included in the article. The sentence is not explicit enough, alas, and I can agree that using a time frame from two eras would had normally seen the eras made explicit.
 

Pacifica

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Hm, well, Cicero was born in the second century BC, but at the very end of it. Unless the letter quoted above was written to him when he was six years old max, you can't call it a 2nd century BC example!
 

Pacifica

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Location:
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I guess the author might have conjectured that if the usage (possibly) appeared in a 1st century BC letter, it might have already existed in the 2nd. But that's a long stretch. He probably meant AD...
 
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