There was never a word pronounced \"Ye\" as in \"Ye olde Coffee Shoppe\"

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There was never a word pronounced "Ye" as in "Ye olde Coffee Shoppe"

In English we have created a mythical word that we think was spoken in the past. That of Ye being pronounced as "Ye". In reality Ye was an abbreviation for the word we know as "the". Thats right, back then they also said "the" just as we do today.

Thorn or žorn (Ž, ž), is a letter in the Old English, Old Norse, and Icelandic alphabets, as well as some dialects of Middle English. The letter originated from the rune ᚦ in the Elder Fužark, called thorn in the Anglo-Saxon and thorn or thurs ("giant") in the Scandinavian rune poems.

It has the sound of either a voiceless dental fricative, like th as in the English word thick, or a voiced dental fricative, like th as in the English word the.

The modern th began to grow in popularity during the 14th century; at the same time, the shape of thorn grew less distinctive, with the letter losing its ascender (becoming similar in appearance to the old wynn (Ƿ, ƿ), which had fallen out of use by 1300) and, in some hands, such as that of the scribe of the unique mid-15th century manuscript of The Boke of Margery Kempe, ultimately becoming indistinguishable from the letter Y.

By this stage th was predominant, however, and the usage of thorn was largely restricted to certain common words and abbreviations. In William Caxton's pioneering printed English, it is rare except in an abbreviated the, written with a thorn and a superscript E. This was the longest-lived usage, though the substitution of Y for thorn soon became ubiquitous, leading to the common 'ye's as in 'Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe'.

One major reason for this is that Y existed in the printer's type fonts that were imported from Germany or Italy, and Thorn did not.

The first printing of the King James Version of the Bible in 1611 used the Y form of thorn with a superscript E in places such as Job 1:9, John 15:1, and Romans 15:29. It also used a similar form with a superscript T, which was an abbreviated that, in places such as 2 Corinthians 13:7. All were replaced in later printings by the or that, respectively.

Thorn in the form of a Y survives to this day in pseudo-archaic usages, particularly the stock prefix Ye olde. The definite article spelled with Y for thorn is often jocularly or mistakenly pronounced /jiː/ or mistaken for the archaic nominative case of you, written ye. It is used infrequently in some modern English word games to replace the th with a single letter.

A handwritten form of thorn that was similar to the letter 'y' in appearance with a small 'e' written above it as an abbreviation for 'the' was common in early Modern English. This can still be seen in reprints of the 1611 edition of the King James Version of the Bible in places such as Romans 15:29, or in the Mayflower Compact. Note that the article was never pronounced with a y sound, even when so written.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

ye-olde-tourist-trappe.jpg - 36.46kb
By netchicken: posted on 18-7-2010








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