Thorny issues (was: OE pt etc)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, July 15, 2004, 6:21|
On Wednesday, July 14, 2004, at 02:27 , John Cowan wrote:
> Ray Brown scripsit:
>> Caxton & other early printers, using fonts produced on the continent,
>> lacked symbol thorn and substituted |y| instead. Hence we find spellings
>> like _ye_ (the), _yat_ (that), wiy (with) etc. The first still lingers
>> on - and is almost always mispronounced - in pseudo-archaic spellings
>> like "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe" (lots of tea shops in medieval England,
>> of course :)
> Right up there with the marinara sauce in mediaeval Italy.
> In fact the þ/y confusion predates printing. From Michael Everson's
> paper "Sorting the letter ÞORN", section 3.1.6:[snip]
Thanks - I hadn't known that. Guess I must've picked up a bit of urban
myth about our printers :)
> In the body of the dictionary, ÞORN is a separate letter following
> Y (and presumably Z) and preceding YOGH (ISO name EZH). Thus the
> dictionary sorts thousand, thowsande, yhousand, yousande, yowsant,
> þosent, þousand, þousend, þusand, þousand, þowsond (pp. 265-66).]
Yep - and up in Scotland, yogh and z seem to have got themselves confused,
so we know have. e.g.
capercailzie /k&p@(r)'kejli/ a species of grouse
and the surnames:
Tho I gather the latter has acquired in spelling pronunciation /'mEzIz/ in
our former colonies :)
>> Clearly, the writing of thorn as |y| was not desirable. But, alas, rather
>> than create new fonts for thorn, the printers printers simply adopted the
>> Norman _th_ digraph which we use till today. Only the Icelanders AFAIK
>> use eth and thorn.
> Faroese uses ð but not þ.
Ah, but I ANDed eth and thorn ;)
On Wednesday, July 14, 2004, at 10:08 , Philip Newton wrote:
> On Wed, 14 Jul 2004 07:59:08 +0100, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
>> Only the Icelanders AFAIK now use eth and thorn.
AFAIK the Icelanders are still the only ones who use both :)
> Faroese(sp?) uses eth, though not thorn. (Apparently, it's not a
> separate phoneme, though, and current spelling is at least partly
Right - so ð is now pronounced the same as /d/?
> I don't know any other modern languages besides those two, though,
> that use either letter.
> (Though there are languages that use d-bar, such as Croatian and
> Vietnamese, but that's not edh; the lower-case letter looks different,
> for starters, and the phonetic value is different, too.)
But the actually started off the same way as eth, modifying |d| with a bar.
It's true, however, that the lower case forms are now different.
In fact simply adding a bar is not an uncommon way of forming a new letter,
thus we have, e.g. ł ('barred-l') in Polish and ħ ('barred-h') in Maltese.
These use horizontal bars or strokes, but first example of augmenting the
Roman alphabet used a _vertical_ bar when the Romans themselves decided
having C to represent both /k/ and /g/ was not a good idea; so G was born
at the end of the 3rd cent BCE and occupied the place vacated by the then
redundant Z (which was later re-introduced from Greek together with Y
during the 1st cent BCE).
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760