Do you say "the" or "thee" – UPDATES!

Growing up, I was taught that when you are following the word T-H-E with a word that begins with a vowel, then the correct (and, to my ear) more pleasant pronunciation was “thee” – long e.

As in “please don’t feed thee animals.” One would never say, “please don’t feed thuh animals.”

I notice an increasing trend the other way, though. Even in the video of Miss California, below, I note it.

I hear it on television and in my own family. My sister recently talked about “theh old people.” It grates on my ears. It is a clunky use of language, and I don’t like it.

Am I too fussy? What do you say? When it precedes a word beginning in a vowel, do you go with “thee” or “thuh?”

For instance, how would you read The Empty Symbolism of Hate Crimes Legislation?

Thuh Empty? Thee Empty?

There will be a test. No math.

UPDATE: Little Miss Attila (who, like me, also loves the semi-colon) has some clever fun with this. And I suspect Neo will, too.

UPDATE II: Neo jumps in – BRILLIANTLY!

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