Ye truth is yt ys might surprise you!
March 4, 2015 7:29 AM   Subscribe

 
From the shoppe, duh. (+1 for the þorn joke).
posted by chavenet at 7:37 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


And then there are those who pronounce "ye olde" as "yee oldee"....
posted by msbrauer at 8:10 AM on March 4, 2015


So what about the 'e' in olde?
Shouldn't that be taxed?
posted by MtDewd at 8:25 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Neanderthal is not a French word, pour l'amour de Gott in Himmel.
posted by languagehat at 8:52 AM on March 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


And then there are those who pronounce "ye olde" as "yee oldee"....

That's how I usually say it, to make fun of firms that are Ye Olde. I also often pronounce "Shoppe" as "shaw-puh-puh" or "shaw-pee" to make fun of shoppes.

The video would have a better point of people and firms putting up those signs themselves understood "ye" to mean "the" and be pronounced as "the." As it is, my sense is that the owners mean "Yee" and people are right to say "yee."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm giving up "ye olde-ee" "shop-ee" when my sense of humor dies. Along with the now trendy "Point-e" in housing developments and all of their pretentious ilk. Until then, mockery it is.

[On previous, I also agree with ROU_Zenophobe that current usage is not the, no matter what the origin is.]
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 9:17 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Clykke heer to lerne th'one secrit thalchemystes do not want ye to knowe!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:21 AM on March 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


IA IA CTHULHU FHTAGN!
posted by I-baLL at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Along with the now trendy "Point-e"

I prefer to pronounce those "pwun-TAY."
posted by yoink at 9:40 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Þe truþ is þat, unlike yoȝ where we lost þe sound and ƿynn where we found a replacement, we still need þe letter þorn in English.

Bring back þorn!

(I'm actually half serious.)
posted by Thing at 9:57 AM on March 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


You can't get ye flask!
posted by Foosnark at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I'm actually half serious.)

If you were really committed, your user name would be Þhing.
posted by yoink at 10:12 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wrote a post about this on Medium a year and a half ago. Presented for your reading pleasure: Ye Olde "The"
posted by Scienxe at 10:16 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem with using Ћ for "the" is that we surely don't want to depend on the Russians for such a crucial part of the language. And they would laugh at us for for pronouncing it wrong too.
posted by idiopath at 10:30 AM on March 4, 2015


This explains where the "y" in "ye olde shoppe" comes from. But I really want to know where the "olde" comes from. Like, was this the name of the shoppe since forever? Is that like naming a baby "Pops" and hoping he'll grow into it?
posted by mhum at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you were really committed, your user name would be Þhing.

Well, if a mod wants to switch my username to Þing, I would be over þe moon.
posted by Thing at 10:39 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Þ is a voiced 'th' as in "this" and "that", not a soft 'th' like in "think" and... well... "thing", so Þing would be pronounced pretty close to "ding". Incidentally, this is also where "dollar" comes from, as the Joachimsthaler, or thaler, from which the name evolved, was also pronounced with a voiced 'th'.
posted by Scienxe at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Þ is a voiced 'th' as in "this" and "that", not a soft 'th' like in "think" and... well... "thing", so Þing would be pronounced pretty close to "ding". Incidentally, this is also where "dollar" comes from, as the Joachimsthaler, or thaler, from which the name evolved, was also pronounced with a voiced 'th'.

None of this is true. Thorn is pronounced as either a voiceless dental fricative [θ] or the voiced counterpart of it [ð]. And the th in Joachimsthaler is purely graphic, a result of Early Modern classicizing; the German word for valley, then written Thal, is now written Tal, which is how it's always been pronounced. (Same goes for Neanderthal, now Neandertal in German.)
posted by languagehat at 1:21 PM on March 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Old English made no distinction between voiced or voiceless dental fricatives as they were allophones. They used thorn (or eth) for both. The derivation of dollar from thaler is because German underwent the Second Germanic consonant shift which changed dental fricatives to stops, but spelling was conservative and didn't reflect that until later.
posted by Thing at 1:21 PM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Snap!
posted by Thing at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2015


As much as I like the explanation with the printing press didn't a change from thorn to "th" happen quite some time before?
To the best of my knowledge the Provisions of Oxford (1258) don't feature the thorn, neither do the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. But they don't feature the "y" either - they stuck with the "th" solution.

My understand would be that English "organically" lost the thorn (and ash, eth and wynn) by simply being an almost exclusively oral language from the 11th to the 13th century. Then, as soon as English became fashionable again, it was rebuild with the letters seen in French writing in all those years, as opposed to reverting back to the Old English spelling.

But how do you spell all those words without having a point of reference?
It wasn't until the printing press emerged (and quite some time after that, as well) that various spellings were common, the "y" substitution for "th" being one prominent example. Sure, it reduces the effort by one letter for the "th" variant in printing but "y" would also, sometimes be used to substitute "g" or "i". (See for example Luke VX, 12 from Wycliffe's Bible (late 14th century) "and the yonger of hem seide to the fadir, Fadir, yyue me the porcioun of catel..." -- "yyue" is "give".)
And sometimes "y" would just be "y".

(Side note: Fun was also to be had with "u" and "v"!
"U" could be both a "u" and a "v" if it was word-internally, a "v" could stand in for both as well, if it stood word-initially.)

(NB: Please take all of that with a grain of salt, I'm not a linguist, I'm merely a fan.)
posted by bigendian at 1:59 PM on March 4, 2015


yeah but in icelandic they make a distinction between Þ and ð so surely old english was like that at some point?? no?
posted by joeblough at 2:22 PM on March 4, 2015


> yeah but in icelandic they make a distinction between Þ and ð so surely old english was like that at some point?? no?

A common misconception, but no. Different languages, different alphabetic styles.
posted by languagehat at 2:41 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


thanks.
posted by joeblough at 2:43 PM on March 4, 2015


how dare you imply that English and Icelandic are separate languages
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:14 PM on March 4, 2015


Ooh, a chance for me to post the beautiful language tree from my favorite webcomic!
posted by gilrain at 3:26 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Around when was the most recent common ancestor of Old English and Old Norse around?
posted by acb at 3:34 PM on March 4, 2015


IHNTA, IJL when languagehat actually goes prescriptivist for a change.

As much as I like the explanation with the printing press didn't a change from thorn to "th" happen quite some time before?

This bugs me as well. I mean, printing is new, right? You're making up a font for a language which has a thorn in it; why don't you make any thorns? My interpretation is that the 'y' was already seen as functionally equivalent to the thorn by then, just with contextually differing pronunciation and usage, otherwise printers would have made up fonts for all letters needed to complete a given typeface.
posted by dhartung at 5:18 PM on March 4, 2015


languagehat actually goes prescriptivist

Describing what happened historically is pretty much the opposite of "prescriptivism."
posted by yoink at 8:55 AM on March 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


bigendian: To the best of my knowledge the Provisions of Oxford (1258) don't feature the thorn, neither do the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. But they don't feature the "y" either - they stuck with the "th" solution.
My understanding is that The Tales of Cauntebery did use the yogh, but it is generally transliterated to "th" in modern prints - akin to the apostrophes and commas, none of which appear in the original (thoriginal).
posted by IAmBroom at 8:11 AM on March 6, 2015


A common misconception, but no. Different languages, different alphabetic styles.
posted by languagehat at 14:41 on March 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


thanks.
posted by joeblough at 14:43 on March 4 [+] [!]
Thanks, languagehat. Thanguagehat.
posted by idiopath at 7:28 PM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


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