Posted by: travelrat | June 1, 2017

Ye Olde …


Fighting Cocks, ArnsideBefore I launch into the account of our latest short road trip, I’d like to indulge myself in sharing a little trivia. This is a picture of where we stayed on the first night. Now, try reading the name of the place aloud.

If you said ‘Yee oldie …’ … you’d be wrong! The correct pronunciation is, would you believe, ‘The Old …’; it would have been written this way before spelling was standardised, and is usually used nowadays to imply that the place is indeed, ‘olde’.

The Y in ‘Ye’ isn’t actually a Y; it’s a thorn, an obsolete letter which conveyed the ‘th’ sound. Actually, it isn’t completely obsolete; it’s still used in Icelandic.

It’s not only language that changed over the centuries; the alphabet changed, too. The letters ‘J’ and ‘V’ didn’t exist in English until the 16th Century … before that, the letter ‘I’ could represent both the ‘J’ and ‘I’ sounds. The ‘V’ sound was represented by a single ‘F’; a double ‘F’ represented the ‘F’ sound … just like in modern Welsh.

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