[Table of Contents] [Search]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Ye Olde Englishe

On Fri, 8 Nov 1996, Beth Lee wrote:

> I suppose that printing presses had some effect on the dying out
> of the long ess -- one less case to deal with -- but I don't really know

The long 's' died out with the printing press because of two things:

Firstly it was all too easily confusable by the (generally illiterate)
typesetters. You can see many books where 'f's have been transposed with
's'es, which makes for confusing reading for the purchaser.

Secondly, and most important, the long 's' was a kerned letter, that ment
that the letter itself extended off the side of its printing base. In the
rough environment of a printers, the kerns were always being broken off,
rendering them useless for printing. It was cheaper to continue using
the fonts with the small 's' only than to purchase a new case each time a
long 's' was damaged, (type founders sold by the case, not by the
letter). So the small 's' became more common and the long 's' slowly died

But the small 's' is evident as a middle of the word letter as far back
as Saxon documents such as Beowulf.


This is the flame bit!!

English never had a 'ye' anything the character was
a 'thorn' which looks like a 'p' with the ring slipped and was the
character for the 'th' sound in Anglo-Saxon and Viking. The capital
for the character looked like a 'y' with the top joined up. It is still
used in icelandic and danish, look at characters 0254 and 0222 on
windows fonts and you will see it. So you see it was 'the' all along.
The nearest thing to 'ye'pronnounced was Ge meaning all of you.

I'm affraid 'Ye olde tee shoppe' is down to people who
fantasize about 'ye olde England' that never was.

You probably know all of this but I thought I would say it anyway,
because Everywhere you go in the UK now you get ye olde this and ye old
that and its begining to be ye proverbial pain in the neck!

Nuff Said

Wes ge hall

Jonathan Farley
Se bocbindung man fram thaet land thaem Englisce
(If I can remember my Saxon correctly)

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents] [Search]