If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Ye Olde English

  • 15-04-2003 7:21pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,598 ✭✭✭

    i think some of this is for the benifit of our US friends, but some of it is quite interesting.
    ye olde english sayings

    i think we sould all speak Shakespereian english, much better sound to it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon

    Shakespeare actually had some pretty good double entendres in his prose by the way.

    /me runs off to find some...

  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon

    Actually they are more euphemisms apparently-
    Now she is in the very lists of love: the champion mounted for the hot encounter Venus and Adonis
    Fool: Faith madam, I have other holy reasons such as they are Alls well that ends well
    Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage Twelfth night
    and the best...
    Petruchio: Come come you wasp, y'faith you are too angrie.
    Kate: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
    Petruchio: My remedy then is to pluck it out.
    Kate: Aye, the fool could not find where it lies
    Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp doth wear its sting? In his tails.
    Kate: In his tongue?
    Petruchio: Whose tongue?
    Kate: Yours if it talke of tales, and so farewell.
    Petruchio: What with my tongue on your taile.
    [she slaps Petruchio]
    Petruchio: Nay come again good Kate I am a gentleman.
    Taming of the Shrew
    Actually that last one reminds me of Mercury tilt on PI!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,314 ✭✭✭Talliesin

    Originally posted by ferdi
    i think we sould all speak Shakespereian english, much better sound to it.

    Do you mean that we should use the vocabulary and grammar of that time, or that we should fit our words to iambic pentameter?

    I'd be happy if people could pronounce "Ye Olde" correctly, instead of pronouncing it like "yee oldie".

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,608 ✭✭✭✭sceptre

    Originally posted by Talliesin
    I'd be happy if people could pronounce "Ye Olde" correctly, instead of pronouncing it like "yee oldie".
    Too right. Anyone I hear saying "yee oldie worldie shoppie" gets four slaps to the head. One for each word pronounced incorrectly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 35,524 ✭✭✭✭Gordon

    I am one of those slapped! How do you say it - Yay old english? Or Yee Old English?

    I never thought about it but I presume the reason I did it was to extend the comic effect when saying yee oldy englishy puby etcy etcy.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 35,466 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney

    It's pronounced "The Old English". The "Y" is actually an antiquated letter "th" - it looks like a backwards 6 with a cross through it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,608 ✭✭✭✭sceptre

    ^just like pickarooney said. It's the old letter "thorn". When t and h were introduced as distinct letters, writers used sometimes continue to use the thorn (and eventually just a straight y instead) when they were running out of space.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,314 ✭✭✭Talliesin

    Originally posted by sceptre
    ^just like pickarooney said. It's the old letter "thorn".
    Indeed. Thorn was from the FUTHARK (runic) alphabet and survived into English for some time because there wasn't a single letter in the Roman alphabet that could replace it. It is still used in Icelandic, and hence exists in a lot of character sets so with luck you should see it here:
    Capital Thorn: Þ
    Small Thorn: þ

    (Somewhere between my computer, and your computer the above may decide not to work correctly).

    Originally thorn was only used for the soft th sound (as in "thorn" itself) and eth was used for the harder th sound (as in "the"):
    Captial Eth: Ð
    Small Eth: ð

    Then thorn came to be used for both. Then finally it was replaced by "th".

    This isn't too unlike the way the sí buailte in Irish got replaced by the practice of using h's after the appropriate letters, or the way the Greek letter phi was Romanised as "ph".

    However the e at the end of "olde" would have been pronounced at one point, though as "eh" rather than "ee" (that is it's more of a schwa than an e).

    One symptom of the many e's that were removed from the English language is the possessive apostrophe. It may seem unusual that we use apostrophes in this way in English, since in other European languages they are only used in the place of elided letters (which we also use apostrophes for, such as the elided o in creating "don't" out of "do not").
    The reason for this is that the way of forming a possessive form of a word was once to add "es" to the word, so the ball belonging to Peter would have been "Peteres ball" and the ball belonging to Thomas would have been "Thomases ball". When people stopped putting as much stress on the final "es" they because "Peter's ball" and "Thomas' ball", and while this use of the letter "e" has since completely left the English language the apostrophe that marks its place has not. Note that we still pronounce the e in Thomas', but not in Peter's, since there the e is still needed to differentiate the possessive form.