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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: Dalziel /di'El/ Menzies /'mINIs/ 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 >> now >> 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@...> > wrote: >> 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 > historical/etymological.)
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.
nor I.
> (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). Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760


Tristan Mc Leay <kesuari@...>Thorny issues
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>