merged from 14c.; the distinction between them passed out of general usage by 1600. Widespread use of Fr. in England after 12c. gave Eng. you the same association as Fr. vous, and it began to drive out sing. nom. thou, originally as a sign of respect (similar to the "royal we") when addressing superiors, then equals and strangers, and ultimately (by c.1575) becoming the general form of address. For a more thorough discussion of this, go here
. Words for "you" in Japanese include anata (formal, used by a wife when addressing her husband), kimi (intimate, used among friends) or the rougher omae (oh-MAI-aye), used when talking down to someone or among male friend showing their manliness. Dial. you-uns, for you-ones, first noted 1810 in Ohio.
"Children learn from the slaves some odd phrases ... as ... will you all do this? for, will one of you do this?" ["Arthur Singleton" (Henry C. Knight), "Letters from the South and West," 1824]
O.E. eower, genitive of ge "ye" (see ye
), from P.Gmc. base of you. Cf. O.S. iuwar, O.Fris. iuwer, O.N. yðvarr, O.H.G. iuwer, Ger. euer, Goth. izwar "your." Used in titles of honor by mid-14c. Absolutive form yours is attested from c.1300. For dialectal yourn, see
. Yourself is before early 14c.; pl. yourselves first recorded 1520s.
2nd nominative singular personal pronoun, O.E. þu, from P.Gmc. *thu (cf. O.Fris. thu, M.Du., M.L.G. du, O.H.G., Ger. du, O.N. þu, Goth. þu), from PIE *tu-, second person singular pronoun (cf. L. tu, Ir. tu, Welsh ti, Gk. su, Lith. tu, O.C.S. ty, Skt. twa-m). Superseded in M.E. by plural
(from a different root), but retained in certain dialects (e.g. Philadelphia Quakers). The plural at first was used in addressing superior individuals, later also (to err on the side of propriety) strangers, and ultimately all equals. By c.1450 the use of thou to address inferiors gave it a tinge of insult unless addressed by parents to children, or intimates to one another. Hence the verb meaning "to use 'thou' to a person" (c.1440).
"Avaunt, caitiff, dost thou thou me! I am come of good kin, I tell thee!" ["Hickscorner," c.1530]
A brief history of the second person pronoun in Eng. can be found here