One of the best movies of last year was the Coen Brothers remake of True Grit. Among the film’s many charms is the archaic, bizarrely formal speech of the characters. I have no idea if real people of the era said things like, “You give out very little sugar with your pronouncements” and “I do not entertain hypotheticals.” But it’s cool to imagine that they did.
Of course, Americans don’t speak like that anymore. A century later, in fact, we’re considered articulate if we keep it down to three uses of “you know” and a pair of double negatives per conversation.