Speaking in Persona

Some people feel daunted when faced with trying to speak and act in-persona. There's no need to be awkward. People of the past were interested in much the same things as people today: other people, the news, the weather, and whatever it is you are doing. If you're working on something or performing some art or craft, you can easily talk to other about it in ordinary, straight-forward languge. There is no need to "speak forsoothly" unless you really want to do it. If you do, then there is no substitute for reading period documents (preferably in the original spelling) to get a flavor for the speech of the time. A few hours with Shakespeare or the King James Bible can put you in the mood (avoid the temptation to speak in iambic pentameter if you've been spending time with the bard!)

If you do want to add some period flavor to your speech, here are a few points to consider.

Luke Knowlton on "Forms of Address":

So Iíve been noodling some more about the ways we would interact with each other, meaning peer to peer, elder to younger, younger to elder, master to servant. In private, Jehan and Luke would probably speak to each other in the familiar, using thee and thou, but  in a situation such as would be found at Crossroads, where they were in mixed company, they would use the formal you and yours. Luke would address Muirne in the familiar because there is a parent/child sort of relationship as she is his ward and Godchild. However he would address Morwenna, her chaperone, in the formal because she is a more mature lady of the same rank as he is (even if she is somewhat younger in age). He would also address Geoffrey in the familiar, because he is a young man and probably a kinsman. Geoffrey and Muirne, might address each other in the familiar if  they were kin or if they were close but otherwise they would address each other in the formal.

Basically to figure out how to address someone you need to look at your rank and station and theirs, if they are above you, address them in the formal. If they are equals, address them in the formal unless they are especially intimate friends or kin. If they are below you, you may address them in the formal or the familiar as is appropriate. Remember that you can honor a person by treating them with respect and grace, you can dishonor and offend a person by treating them with an inappropriate amount of  familiarity. As an interesting aside, one of the things that so infuriated people with Quakers in the 17th century (beside their religious beliefs) was their insistence on addressing everyone, including their betters, in the familiar thee and thou. What we see as a quaint manner of speaking today, was in the hands of Quakers 350 years ago a radical and defiant manner of speech. I think we have lost an awful lot of nuance in our language by the falling away the formal and familiar forms of address. Itís a shame!