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  1. #1
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Ye olde thorn

    I watched this video about the letter and how th came to represent the sounds /θ/ and //. It says that at some point, people also used y to represent these sounds, which means that ye in "Ye olde..." is just a variation of how people spelled /i/; it's not /ji/.

    This sparked a thought. If th and y were used to represent /θ/ and //, then thou and you look like just alternative spellings of the same pronoun. Did that spelling variation play any part in the disappearance of thou and its replacement with you?

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    I don't think so, partly because thou/you are the only two words in which this happens. It does not happen with thee/ye, thy/your, thine/yours.

    Also, thou and you have different vowels and are followed by verbs with different suffixes. They would be unlikely to be confused by the small literate minority,

  3. #3
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    I thought it would be the case. It's a nice coincidence, though.

  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    I thought it that would be the case. It's a nice coincidence, though.
    See above.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    If I didn't omit that, would that mean that that sentence would read "I thought that that would be the case"?

  6. #6
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    If I didn't omit that, would that mean that that sentence would read "I thought that that would be the case"?
    That's a natural sentence.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    If I didn't omit that, would that mean that that sentence would read "I thought that that would be the case"?
    Yes. The two thats would have different pronunciation, of course.

    The answer to your original question is no. Our contemporary word you goes right back to Old English, where it was used as the object plural form. It's not that thou became you so much as it was replaced by the pre-existent pronoun.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 06-Apr-2021 at 16:59.

  8. #8
    Glizdka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The two thats would have different pronunciation, of course.
    Different pronunciation? How would you transcribe it?

  9. #9
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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Ye olde thorn

    The first is a weak form, with a schwa, and the second is a strong form, with a strong //.

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