End of ADS-L Digest - 5 Dec 1993 to 6 Dec 1993 ********************************************** There are 5 messages totalling 231 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. More on Eth and thorn (3) 2. How to say quarter to/past and half past in Swedish 3. some U.S. "Midland" regionalisms? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1993 10:03:00 +0100 From: Hans Vappula Subject: More on Eth and thorn >From the keyboard of Roger Vanderveen >This is an idea of mine, and I'd like to get some opinions on it. > >I believe that the letter thorn didn't die out all that early, but was still in >use up until the 18th century, and we still see its occasional use today. I am >referring to the way that the word "the" was spelled as "ye". In old scripts >the letter "y" in "ye" looks like a thorn, and eventually the "y" replaced the >thorn. Right. Do you actually mean thorn and not eth? Compare: Below is a lowercase thorn, hex FE, 254 decimal in ISO 8859-1. * * *** * * *** * * Below is a lowercase Faroese-Icelandic lowercase eth, hex F0, 240 decimal in ISO 8859-1: * * **** * * * * * ** Below is an attempt at a script y of the type you probably are referring to above (admittedly not a good one, but you can't expect miracles from 7-bit ASCII): * * * * * * * * * ** Looks more like eth than thorn to me... > >Pronunciation could have been consistent with either spelling. The thorn sound >may not have been pronounced (compare modern English dialects which pronounce >"thee" as "ee"). But as the spelling using "y"/thorn died out in favor of >"th" (which was there all along), the "th" became no longer silent. > > >What think ye? > >Roger Aye, what think ye? Dennis Preston states: >Worse yet, thoseof us who have a voiceless interdental in final position in > would have been badly represented in the spelling . The why not use as a variant, just like colour-color etc. (admittedly somewhat hypothetical, but since you mentioned it I couldn't resist...) >Let's >not forget what a boon to variation English spelling often is. What variety >would we select if we really wanted to phonemicize (since I assume nobody >wants to phoneticise) English spelling. >Yawl woodn wunt tuh use mahn, wood yuh? >Dennis Preston YorkshireAccent on: Naw, Uh'spawze nouhtt... YorkshireAccent off Robert Kelly (kelly[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]levy.bard.edu) points out: >one problem: the Y as grapheme equivalent of thorn lasted only in words >where eth was the sound wanted: Ye Olde Teashoppe, etc. As an earlier >respondent noted, in Middle English texts these letters are (I think) hope- >lessly interchangeable. Recall that thorn was still "productive" (as it >still is, i.e., show someone a made-up word with th- in it and they'll >pronounce it with a theta) and eth restricted to a very small lexicon, mostly >deictic words. A small but very common lexicon, I'd say. The, this, that, they, their, them are among the most common words in English (all variants), aren't they? >I'm guessing that the obsolescence of the sound eth made the >graphemic distinction less important. Obsolescence??? See above. Nevertheless (nevereless), the said distinction must have been *considered to be* less important. >Then too, the snazzy new typefaces >coming in from Italy in the Renaissance had no eths and thorns, and we all >wanted to look like Aldus in those days. (Personally, I miss the yog letter, >>looked like 3 you remember, and lingers as the z in Mackenzie and Dalziell, >as >the gh in laugh, the w in law, etc. A good sound we have to cross the Channel >to Holland to hear still. Even the Scots have lost it! > >rk. If you mean the initial sound in Groningen has been lost in Scots, how do you then pronounce Loch Ness? Or maybe the sound was reintroduced by Gaelic influence... Also, you could cross the Atlantic in a norerly direction and find it as an optional and alternative pronunciation to final hard G in spoken Icelandic. //Hans Vappula, Gothenburg Universities' Computing Centre, G|teborg, Sweden ========================================================================= Hans Vappula * guchw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]gd.chalmers.se * hans.vappula[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]gd.gu.se ([AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] = at sign)