Re: thorn vs. y or th, eth and other similar letters/signs

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Sun Oct 28 2007 - 19:40:29 CST

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    John H. Jenkins wrote:
    > On Oct 27, 2007, at 4:57 AM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
    >> I did not realise that the old orthography "thou" (common in English
    >> priest
    >> books and Bible) for the modern "you" could have a common origin with
    >> the
    >> same original thorn letter, which was transliterated differently
    >> between the
    >> two orthographies. I initially thought that the change of orthography
    >> was
    >> justified only by change of phonetics, but now it seems that the
    >> original
    >> orthography with thorn allowed two possible realizations.
    > Huh? No, this is not the case. English "thou" is cognate with other
    > second person singular pronouns (tu, du), and "you" with the other
    > second person plural pronouns (vous, vos). Archaic English letters
    > aren't involved at all.
    Yeah, I used to wonder the same thing. But it doesn't work, since all
    the other related languages have cognate pronouns and this effect, if
    real, would only affect English.

    Besides, the declension is wrong. "Thou" is subjective and "thee" is
    objective, whereas for plural the subjective was "ye" and the objective
    was "you". So they're reversed with respect to each other.


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