A thorn in my side …

The thorn letter (Þ) is from Old English, Old Norse and remains in the Iclandic alphabet.

The letter originated from the rune for “giant” () and dates back as far as the 2nd century (the Elder Fuþark).

What does this say ?

No …

It doesn’t.

Over time, the written representation of Þe (Middle English abbreviation for the word the) has become “ye”. However, this hasn’t altered its pronunciation.

Þ is pronounced like the “th” in “thick”.

The pub sign reads “The Old Cheshire Cheese”. The Ye does not have a “\ˈyē\” sound nor does Olde have a “\ˈdē\” sound on the end.

It’s not “ye olde” this and “ye olde” that. It isn’t quaint. It isn’t authentic. If it’s pronounced “yeee oldeee” it’s just naff !

Bonus fact … in its typography, the thorn is one of the few characters in a Latin-derived alphabet whose modern lower-case form has greater height than the capital. Upper = Þ, lower = þ.


About jon.d.carroll

Father, husband, would-be physicist and occasional entrepreneur. Science, computing, finance, business and issues around hearing loss float my boat View all posts by jon.d.carroll

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