Talk:Thorn (letter)

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Wynn says (of itself)[edit]

Wynn says (of itself): "The rune was held to represent joy, and is the only rune other than þ to have been borrowed into the Latin alphabet." Could someone who knows these things add a sentence or two about this in this entry? --Spikey 00:14, 28 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Moving this article[edit]

I'm going to move this article to Þ today if nobody objects, pros to this:

  • Naturally linked, people are more likely to write [[þ]] than [[Thorn (linguistics)|Þ]]
  • It's in ISO-8859-1, this will cause no trauble.
  • It's in the style of æ,ö,ý... this is one ugly distinction. --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 16:19, 2004 Jun 25 (UTC)
I object. First, I want to say that I love the letter thorn, and have for many years; I fought to have it recognized as a separate letter for the purposes of international sorting (and won). But the name of this letter in the English is Thorn. Further, while "Thorn (linguistics)" was very bad, I already changed that (and all the articles) to "Thorn (letter)". And that took rather a long time. (This back-and-forthing is one of the more unpleasant features of the Wikipedia.) Evertype 09:44, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
hehe here we go. I thought I was going to have problems with the redirects when I discovered my original sally at the subject was not where I put it; but actually, on reflection, so long as we have appropriate redirects in place, I am not really that concerned. Definitely an issue of a low order of severity in any case. I vote we just make sure we have stuff pointing at it from the right angles. Sjc 10:00, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Most English speakers when faced with the thorn's glyph don't recognize it at all. It is far better to list this letter under its name in the English-language Wikipedia.
Perhaps they will after reading the article. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 10:28, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
How will they find the article? Evertype 18:45, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
It should also be pointed out that not everyone has ISO/IEC 8859-1 as their character set. Many Macintosh users do still do not have support for Thorn or Eth. The convention "Lettername (letter)" should be used for Thorn and Eth, as it is for a number of Greek letters, which are listed under their names as spelled out in English.
I would like the articles to move back to "Thorn (letter)" Evertype 10:18, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
What Macintosh users in particular do not have support for Þ or Ð? Mac OS has always supported character sets alot better than Windows equivalents, especially with Mac OS X.
Any users with OS 8 and OS 9, certainly – and there are many of them, no matter how wonderful OS X is. And most people don't have keyboard access to the letter, certainly (unless they use the Unicode keyboards, which are not supported on all browsers, including Explorer). Evertype 11:41, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
Furthermore, i think that Thorn (letter) is an overly long and ugly title for an article as opposed to Þ. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 10:28, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
I am sure that you do, as an Icelander. I would like to see some consistency in Wikipedia, that's all. I don't think we should change Eth (letter) to Ð (which would be ambiguous with regard to the Croatian and African look-alikes). Evertype 11:41, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
Greek letters which can't be written in 8859-1 have to be listed as their spelled out names; but "A", "B", ... are not at Ay (letter), Bee (letter), etc; why should "Þ" be at Thorn (letter)? Lady Lysiŋe Ikiŋsile | Talk 10:31, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
We do not normally write out Ay, Bee, Cee. Thorn is normally written out. Thorn is an entry in dictionaries. Thorn is the character's name. Evertype 11:41, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
  • Keep at Þ. We have redirects to handle things. Dysprosia 10:21, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
This is inconsistent, and I don't think it buys anything for the end-user. Ævar's argument that it's more convenient for Wikipedians to type in links is pretty bogus. Why not keep it at Thorn (letter)? ÆVar said he was going to move it unless he heard objections. Well, I object. Evertype 11:41, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
First of all, how is it inconsistent with abcdefghijklmnopqrs letters are at their letter name, unlike numbers which are at int (number).
It's one thing to be idealistic, and another to be practical about the realities of what English-speaking readers will know and recognize. Evertype 18:45, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
And how is it bogus that it's more conviniant to type it? The previous name was 14 letters, the current one is 13 shorter.
Convenience for the throngs of Wikipedia authors rushing to link this article is one thing. Convenience for actual users wanting to be able to recognize and pronounce article names is quite another. Evertype 18:45, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
Generally, if you can make the title shorter and more understood thats a good thing, uneeded ()'s behind them should not be used if they can be avoided.
And about that objection notice, that was 25 days ago, I've first now seen you disagree, not that you can watch every page on wikipedia, i just wanted to get any formal complaints then. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 12:14, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
No, I did not see it a month ago. I did spend a considerable time following up links when I made both the Thorn (letter) and Eth (letter) articles accessible to people other than Icelanders and students of Old English. (I was both.) No one said anything when I did that, and so I am quite rightly surprised to see this unwelcome change here.
  • Let's just keep this at Þ, I don't see why this one should be treated differently from æ, ö and ß. Why use long and ugly article names when it may easily be avoided? --Biekko 14:40, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
There isn't anything particularly ugly about the article name, though perhaps in retrospect Letter Thorn (Þ) or Letter Þ (Thorn) would be better, with other variants pointing there. And, indeed, why not Letter A, Letter B, etc.? ſ resolves to Long s, while ß does not resolve to Sharp s. This is not user-friendly, and I would like to see the whole thing tidied up. Evertype 18:45, 2004 Jul 20 (UTC)
I think that (no pun indented) if you have general issues with naming conventions on WP such as that A should be on Letter A, Þ on Letter Thorn (Þ) it should be taken up on WP naming conventions. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 05:39, 2004 Jul 21 (UTC)

Moving back to Thorn (letter)...[edit]

Þ and þ are not in MacRoman (although they're in ISO 8859-1), and there are Wikipedians who are Mac users, so I'll move this back to Thorn (letter). --KelisFan2K5 21:08, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree with this movement. Apple's Mac-Roman character set, unfortunately, does not have these characters, so it is impossible for users of that character set ever to find this article.

I'll also move Ð back to Eth (letter) since that isn't in MacRoman either. --KelisFan2K5 10:02, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Our target is ISO-8859-1 letters, not MacRoman, there are also some people using legacy systems that don't support other encodings than ASCII etc. And it's not impossible to access the page if your only supported encoding is MacRoman, you can use the redirects or got toÆvar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 11:53, 2005 Mar 17 (UTC)
The link brought me to (lowercase fi ligature) instead of Þ on my old Mac. Also, Þ would appear to old Macs as a box indicating a non-existent character in the font. --KelisFan2K5 13:30, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It's also not in MS-DOS CP 437 (Å, Æ, Ø, Œ, or Ð are also not in CP 437). --KelisFan2K5
How about thorn (letter), anyway our current target for article titles is ISO 8859-1 not Mac Roman, it would probably be more productive for you to take it up on Wikipedia:Naming conventions rather than start moving all articles that are not in Mac Roman but are in ISO 8859-1 (of which there are doubtless thousands). —Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 16:12, 2005 Mar 19 (UTC)
As far as user-friendliness goes, thorn (letter) makes more sense, since Þ isn't an English letter. I mean, even after we move to UTF-8, we're not going to move Zhao Ziyang to 赵紫阳, are we? --Delirium 00:38, May 23, 2005 (UTC)
I think this should stay at Þ unless we are sure that this would cause errors for computers made in the last few years. The same goes for all letters. — Chameleon 14:07, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
I agree that this issue should be discussed and dealt with at Wikipedia:Naming conventions since there are other non-English letters in the English WP and a standard should be set. Personally, I would like to keep the article at Þ. On the other hand, Ρ is at Rho (letter) and doesn't even have a redirect from Ρ. Chi (Greek letter) is in the same situation. -Acjelen 14:33, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
I have made some comments there. I favour <Englishlettername> (letter) for the English Wikipedia. English-speakers should not be disadvantaged just because the English Wikipedia is used by people who have an easier time with letters like Thorn. Evertype 17:32, 2005 Jun 26 (UTC)

All those technical questions about display and character set are academic. Article titles are the names of things, not the things. This article belongs at thorn (letter). (Just as zhe (Cyrillic) doesn't belong at Ж, nor yus at Ѧ). Michael Z. 2005-07-8 01:48 Z

But the name of B is B, not Be (or Bee), and the WP article title reflects that. Þ should remain the same. -Acjelen 8 July 2005 03:45 (UTC)
Yes, I believe the name of the letter B is B, the name of the Z is zed or zee, and the name of the Þ is thorn. Familiar English letters sometimes stand for themselves, but the thorn is not in that category. (Likewise, Ж can stand for zhe in a Ukrainian text, but this is neither Ukrainian, Old English nor Icelandic Wikipedia, so using Ж or Þ as an article title is undesirable) Michael Z. 2005-07-8 05:10 Z


While there may be an arguement for keeping an article in Wikipedia on the common phrase "ye olde", I think this topic should be covered in the article on the letter thorn. If it is decided that "ye olde" deserves its own page, then that page should certainly agree with the letter thorn page. -Acjelen 05:49, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Requested move to Thorn (letter)[edit]

Titles are the names of things, not the things

  • Support  This is my request Michael Z. 2005-08-5 20:08 Z
  • Oppose. I think the canonical name for a letter is the letter itself. Just like we don't have K at Kay, we shouldn't have Þ at Thorn. dbenbenn | talk 20:52, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Thorn is the English name for the letter, and has always been; in a stronger sense than Ay, Bee, and so forth. Also, most users of this Wikipedia do not have Þ on their keyboards (I used the edit menu; but WP is for readers). Septentrionalis 21:04, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In addition to concurring with dbenbenn, I would like to add that many readers will not know the letter by either the sound "thorn" or the sign Þ. Acjelen 21:24, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Thorn is the English name for the letter, as attested in the Oxford English Dictionary. which is authoritative. Note that Ay, Bee, and so forth are NOT headwords in the OED. I love the thorn, and have worked to ensure that it was sorted correctly in the default UCS sorting table, but I believe that letter articles in the Wikipedia should be standardized on "Name (letter)" and this has long been my position. We succeeded recently with Beth (letter). The English encyclopaedia should be consistent here, and as no English speaker learns about Þ in childhood (I learned of it when I was 13) and as most English speakers wouldn't even recognize the letter much less be able to type it, we should stick with the English name plus (letter). Evertype 22:54, August 5, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support "þ" is not a letter in modern English orthography; therefore it has no place in the title of a page in the English-language Wikipedia. Robert A West 01:49, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Titles should be names of objects, not the objects themselves (and use common names). — Knowledge Seeker 18:26, August 7, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Agree with Knowledge Seeker. Jonathunder 19:15, 2005 August 12 (UTC)
  • Support. I know action has already been taken, but Thorn is the English name, just as Ash is the English name for <æ>, although the difference is that one is a ligature and one is an archaic letter. Names for letters like H and Z which came from Greek, are debated on, and are more well known by their letterform. --GamerGeekWiki (talk) 20:57, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

This article has been renamed after the result of a move request. violet/riga (t) 11:05, 18 August 2005 (UTC)


Dbenbenn, of course you can spell the one-letter names of English letters using the letters themselves. But the thorn isn't a letter in the Latin alphabet that's used for modern English. The English-language Wikipedia doesn't use letters of other writing systems in article titles (e.g., Þ, ω, ю, ѭ, , ). The thorn was part of the alphabet for Middle English, but isn't in the modern Latin alphabet for English.

Acjelen, I don't understand your objection. The article can be found through redirects and disambiguation pages (by typing Þ or thorn), and this article serves to teach the reader its name and pronunciation. Michael Z. 2005-08-5 21:43 Z

Redirects and disambiguation pages will point readers in either direction. While Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) asks for titles to be in English, other groups in WP stress the opposite, such as WikiProject Classical music. -Acjelen 22:24, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
The conventions on classical music are irrelevant here. Michael Z. 2005-08-6 05:47 Z

Unless Dbenbenn is going to propose to move Omega to Ω and so on, the current name of the Thorn (letter) article is inconsistent with Wikipedia:Naming conventions. Not only should an article be titled within modern English orthography, but the title of an article should be the most common name for the thing. I defy anyone to show me a textbook on the history of the English language or a widely-used dictionary that does not use the name, "Thorn", spelled out. Per D.W. Robertson's lectures on Chaucer, the letter was already disappearing medially well before Caxton's time, so we should regard it as belonging to a foreign orthography (Old English). Yes, this means that our articles on Eth (letter) and Ash (letter) are also named incorrectly: once we move Thorn (letter) back where it belongs, we can do those moves as well. Robert A West 02:24, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Move of Æ to Ash (letter) or Aesc[edit]

Interested persons, please read and vote for or against either proposal at Talk:Æ#Requested move. Michael Z. 2005-09-27 00:10 Z

Raspberry emoticon - unsubstantiated[edit]

I have put this text here pending substantiation. Evertype 15:25, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

In modern times, the only main use among the English-speaking populace is online, as an emoticon to depict blowing a raspberry. This is made by users that want to feel superior and showcase more expertise in Net Usage than one who would use a regular "P" to do the same, as in ":-P" (see: Emoticons). [citation needed]
I've used the smiley ":þ" since I was little, and I was sure to memorize the more simple alt code, alt+999. Could someone add this code to the article perhaps? (talk) 00:47, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Icelandic Name[edit]

What is the name of the character in Icelandic? I think it would be interesting since that it's the only native alphabet in which the character is commonly used. 13:09, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Þorn. Evertype 13:23, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! (New IP) 14:24, 16 January 2006 (UTC)


The article used to contain:

When used as a voiceless interdental fricative, like 'th' as in the English word "thick", then Þ is the only Latin alphabet equivalent to the Greek letter Theta (Θ,θ).

This is incorrect, since Ŧ is used in Sami (as well as phonetic transcriptions) for the sound, so I've removed it. --Ptcamn 01:29, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

And this article is better off without discussing Theta at all; thank you. Septentrionalis 00:25, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Apparent inaccuracies[edit]

I've removed the charming anecdote about the thorn being killed by its absence from Caxton's continental alphabets, because so far as I can tell it's simply not true. Caxton uses standard 15th-century orthography, not notably different from the handwritten forms that preceded him, in which <th> was already preferred to <þ>. And when he does use the older spelling (as, for example, in the abbreviation of the as <þ> with superscript <e> directly above), it is unambiguously <þ>, lacking the ascender but quite distinct from any form of <y>. — Haeleth Talk 23:38, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Reply to Pmanderson[edit]

(Is the implication that OE was originally written without thorn intended? If so, please source)

Not at all; rather, I was trying to avoid making a definite claim either way, as I can't remember what the oldest texts use and I haven't immediately been able to find any sources that say. "Adopted very early" seemed like a reasonable bit of weaselling in the circumstances.  :) — Haeleth Talk 00:00, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Fine, what do you think of my weaselry? Septentrionalis 00:29, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that your edit was an improvement. It might be worth going even further: "very early" still implies an observable transition of some sort, so one could argue that the question should not even be raised till a citable authority is found. But the current wording looks good to me if you're happy with it. — Haeleth Talk 13:21, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Odd Redirect[edit]

I was redirected here from Ye Olde... there is nothing but a brief mention of Ye Olde as a side note in the discussion of an odd letter I've never heard of-- I clicked on Ye Olde in Stock Phrases! Maybe someone who understands the connection better can clarify the page? 02:23, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Forgot to log in, sorry Kuronue 02:25, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
The connection is the "Y" in "Ye Olde" - specifically it does not represent the 25th letter of the latin alphabet — it represents the Thorn character which was included in middle English; before it was dropped entirely the form of the letter degenerated somewhat, losing the closure at the top of the loop, making it resemble a latin "Y" (or a K without the lower leg; it was still pronouced as "th" but in modern times that's been forgotten by the mainstream public who see a "Y" (so "Ye Olde" == "The Olde" written with a Thorn character) --Invisifan 14:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
So, Ye Olde has no discussion page??? If it did, I might mention that Olde is falsely anachronistic - the older form being eold, or so I'm told. Freder1ck 01:17, 29 August 2007 (UTC)Freder1ck
Olde is a Middle English variant (see [1]). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aaronforjesus (talkcontribs) 05:41, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Relationship to Y[edit]

I believe this article is somewhat incorrect (or misleading) in its discussion of the letter's resemblence to Y. In proper print the letter never resembled Y at all. It was the "cursive" letter that somewhat resembled Y and gradually became more so as Latin and French became more pervasive in English culture (along with other influences). Arguably a subtlety the average person wouldn't care about but worth being clear about -- I think.

--Mcorazao 18:47, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

After looking at lots of examples, by the late 1400s most of the Thorns had a Y shape. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aaronforjesus (talkcontribs) 05:45, 16 May 2008 (UTC)


the text "like ð; unlike ð," makes no sense Brownturkey (talk) 12:51, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

How is the word "thorn" (as opposed to the letter) pronounced?[edit]

Is the word "thorn" pronounced like /θɔɹn/ or /ðɔɹn/?

allixpeeke —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

/θɔɹn/, generally. I don't know of any dialect that would pronounce it with /ð/. LokiClock (talk)
West Country English. Peter238 (talk) 20:00, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Most words starting with ⟨th⟩ are a /θ/ GamerGeekWiki (talk) 21:00, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

What is the name of the Icelandic letter?[edit]

If the letter is called "THORN" in English, what is the corresponding name in Icelandic? (talk) 04:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

ÞORN. -- Evertype· 23:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Rofl —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:44, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Bloody immature 12 year old IPs. Learn how to UsE Pr0P3r AEngL1SH. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email guestbook complaints 13:44, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

So they sound alike, and use the same name for the symbol? Dexter Nextnumber (talk) 05:36, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Apparently seems like that. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 12:19, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
As I recall, both languages do have the same name for it. Gwen Gale (talk) 12:21, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Windows Keyboard Shortcut[edit]

On the article is says that (alt + 0 + 2 + 2 + 2) and (alt + 2 + 3 + 2) will both give the uppercase thorn. The first works fine, but the second gives me Φ. Is this supposed to be right? --DKong27 (talk) 02:15, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

(alt + 2 + 3 + 2) gives you character 232 in your PC's current ANSI code page. (alt + 0 + 2 + 2 + 2) gives you character 222 in your PCs OEM code page (note the 0 prefix means "OEM"). These codepages vary based on the regional version of Windows. The same ANSI codepage (1252) is used in most of Western Europe and the USA, but the OEM codepage varies more from country to country. Ultimately theres no easy way I'm aware of for entering unicode that works in all locales without editing the registry, so the suggestion on the page is potentially a bit misleading, but works for most people and avoids too much info for most readers. -- (talk) 22:11, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Thorn in texting in London[edit]

Originally posted at User_talk:SudoGhost. Copied here 02 Sept 2011

Thorn (þ) is on all mobile phones. My daughter told me that she and her friends use it for texting "th". I asked around and lots of people do so. How can I prove this? I don't know. But you can check yourself. Herbolzheim (talk) 00:06, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. That a group of young friends use it for texting doesn't necessarily equate to it being popular usage in a country, and in order for it to be in the article, especially in the lede, that information would need to be reliably sourced. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a message, I'll look for a source, but from a cursory glance, I'm not seeing anything. - SudoGhost 00:09, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
There are lots of other things in that Wikipedia entry that are not verified or sourced. There is a strapline at the top that mentions them. Can't we leave my addition in with that caveat? I can assure you that thorn A. is on mobile phones and B. people are using it to replace "th". (talk) 00:13, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, no. It is unsourced, but also unlikely. If it were being used as often enough to be included in the article, a reliable source would have mentioned it. I have no doubt that people are using the character, but not in numbers notable enough to mention it in the article. - SudoGhost 00:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
(talk page stalker) "Thorn (þ) is on all mobile phones." -- Not true. Thorn (letter) is not part of the standard GSM character set (effectively ASCII), so there is no guarantee that the receiving handset could display it! (Most modern handsets can probably use and display it, but older or simpler ones may not be able to.) -- EdJogg (talk) 13:07, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Hey - I AM a reliable source. Who is better? By þe time somebody does a post-graduate dissertation on þe use of registers for texting the kids (and older folk) will have moved on! Seriously, who is better? I am well in tune wiþ young folk in London - well, maybe not þe ultra posh (or þe other end of þe scale). I just spent the pm shopping wiþ my twelve-year-old who will text until her phone melts. A lot of linguistics turns on intuition as it is hard to build up a body of data on someþing like mobile texting - þat's what I was told when I did my Dip. Lang. wiþ the OU. Anoþer point is þat maybe þe reason thorn is only taking off now is because it wasn't on older phones (which is a good and fair point, EdJogg). I þink that thorn should be mentioned - þere are assertions elsewhere in W with less to back þem up. No? Herbolzheim (talk) 20:24, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia editors are not reliable sources, we cannot take an editor's word on something. Also, phones using GSM are not 'older phones', this list shows that three out of the largest thirty mobile networks in the world use GSM technology. My phone is far from being an older phone, and yet does not have thorn in its character set. Third, thorn is not used in modern English, and this is not a text message, therefore your use of thorn in place of every 'th' is grossly incorrect. If the information is not backed up by reliable sources, it doesn't belong in the article. - SudoGhost 21:30, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Is it not used in modern English? Well I never. I þought it was. I must get a new dictionary - mine has eth in it as well, and the calfskin binding is wearing thin. Are you a Norman? They didn't like our letters either, and made us use th and c after they got lucky against Harold. OK - Just because your new phone, of which you are probably justifiably proud, doesn't have thorn, doesn't mean that the kids aren't using it in texts. Now, please answer my question - what or who would do as a reliable source given the problems in analysing language useage? Something like a report in a national paper? That would only be based on the hack's perception. Herbolzheim (talk) 21:57, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
WP:RS shows what is and is not considered a reliable source. It doesn't matter what "the kids" are using in texts, if it isn't notable enough to be mentioned in a reliable source, it isn't notable enough to be mentioned in the article. The kids are free to do as they wish, it doesn't make it relevant to an encyclopedia. - SudoGhost 22:06, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
An encyclopaedia should be up-to-date and reflect all phenomena. I am surprised that you are not interested in the revival of thorn. That it possibly is being used in texting is very interesting to linguists and historians alike. Texting is a modern means of communicating. I was delighted but that isn't the point. If there is evidence of its useage this should be mentioned in the entry. Of course I know that my assertion alone is insufficient. I just don't know what will suffice. David Crystal who was my OU lecturer for a while would be interested as would Melvyn Bragg, both of whom have written books on the course of English. Herbolzheim (talk) 22:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
If there's a reliable source that supports it, I have no problem with it, however, there doesn't appear to be one. Even if your children and their friends use it, that doesn't reflect a widespread use, and as such shouldn't be placed in the article. - SudoGhost 23:09, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
As I said, I know my assertion alone isn't enough. (Although there could be a caveat.) I will consult books and contacts and be back. Herbolzheim (talk) 23:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── -- My apologies, SudoGhost, if I have exacerbated the problem. I am wholeheartedly with you on this. For the record, 'I' did not imply that GSM phones are older phones, only that 'older phones' may only support the standard GSM character set, and hence not display this character -- making received messages unreadable (just like Herbolzheim's posts here!)

Incidentally, these kids using the character like this do not realise that they are not actually saving any message length. Each thorn character will be transmitted as two bytes, as opposed to the one byte for the 't' and one byte for the 'h'. Also, most on-screen qwerty keyboards assume use by normal people and will have 't' and 'h' nearby, (or as 1 press of '8' and 2 of '4') rather than having to select from a special character menu. The thorn will also fail to trigger any predictive text mechanism, which could be used to save their time. When you include the fact that it makes messages almost unreadable, unless kids are attempting to encode their texts from prying eyes they must be mad to go to all this extra effort! -- EdJogg (talk) 12:01, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Not a problem at all, I knew what you meant. Also, I agree with you on the thorn character being unlikely to save time as opposed to a quick 't' and 'h'. - SudoGhost 13:17, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

It strikes me as rather judgemental to infer that only people who are not normal will use phonetic and symbolic short-cuts when texting. Also, I think that clever guys like you two who know about thorn can quickly see that it is being used and work with it. It's far easier that "gr8" "m8" and "@" and the others that I see. As to the logic of the thing, "these kids" don't always apply it. For example, they use their mobile phones when it would be free to use their parents' home land-lines. I think use of thorn in texting should be mentioned if more evidence is around. I am going to move this discourse to the discussion page. Sorry for using your talk page, Sudoghost Herbolzheim (talk) 09:34, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

'normal'/'not normal' -- I could perhaps have said 'conventionally-educated Latin-based-alphabet-language-speaking', but 'normal' was more...amusing? The point is more that the qwerty keyboard was not designed for text-speak, but it is designed for quick typing/data-entry, and 't' and 'h' are easily accessible and close together.
Anyway, the views of SudoGhost and myself with regard to whether it is logical or worthwhile for people to use a substitute character in this way are not the point. What is the point is that unless you can support your assertions of this usage with Reliable Sources, it simply counts as Original Research and has no place in this encyclopedia. You say yourself "...use of thorn in texting should be mentioned if more evidence is around." [my emphasis], so when you have gathered your evidence -- provided it falls within WP's guidelines -- you will be in a better place to fight your corner. -- EdJogg (talk) 12:53, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I've said twice or three times that my assertions are not enough. I will have a think about it. Herbolzheim (talk) 00:30, 3 September 2011 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The answer to the question above is "Have them send you a text message and take a screen shot or photo of it; alternatively, have them send you an e-mail from their phone." If you do this I can put it on my blog at þ and voilà, reliable source. ;-) -- Evertype· 08:53, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Concerning Middle English abbreviations of "ye" and keyboard usage[edit]

While "þ" is available via keyboard shortcuts, all examples of Middle English and Early Modern English versions of "þe" are shown only in image form, or using a second character rendered in superscript. So my question: are there any known text forms of these one-character abbreviations of "the" available? -- (talk) 04:35, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

You could use þᵉ with a Unicode MODIFIER LETTER SMALL E if you don't like to use superscription. -- Evertype· 16:57, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


Why did þe digraph "th" start to gain popularity over þe letter þorn in þe 14þ century? Wouldn't it be easier and faster to write "þ" than "th"? Double sharp (talk) 14:30, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Norman scribes didn't know it. Fonts from the Netherlands didn't have it. Of course it is more complicated than that. -- Evertype· 16:55, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Why didn't þey just add it þen? After all, it's only one letter, and it has substantial visual resemblence to "p" anyway. So why didn't þey just add an ascender to "p" or move þe circle of "P" downwards? Or are þere oþer reasons for þem not to want to use it? Double sharp (talk) 06:59, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
The scribes didn't know it, and the type founders didn't add it, perhaps because they didn't know it. It's a nice thesis topic for you, though. -- Evertype· 08:50, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
But, would þæt be þesis, or θesis? :) (talk) 04:15, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Confusing introduction?[edit]

The introduction first claims that modern Icelandic usage excludes [ð] as a pronunciation for þ, then that [ð] is a common pronunciation for þ except sentence-initially (possibly only for word-initial þ, though?), and finally that [θ] is an allophone of þ, even though [θ] was already implied to be its canonical pronunciation. This isn't wrong, but it is a rather confusing way to talk about allophonic variation: generally we'd use slashes, so we can talk about the phoneme /θ/ rather than the letter þ, but here that gives us: "/θ/ in modern Icelandic also has a voiceless allophone [θ], which occurs in certain positions within a phrase," which just makes things more confusing.

Can someone who knows something about Icelandic clear this up or, failing that, just change it to something simple like "þ is generally pronounced [θ] in modern Icelandic, though it is pronounced [ð] under certain conditions"? (talk) 03:19, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Icelandic is my second language. To my knowledge, þ is always pronounced [θ] in modern Icelandic. I'm not sure what was meant by that part of the article. In Old Icelandic manuscripts, before the use of the ð character, it would have been pronounced [ð] in many positions. Now, an þ in the middle of a word is still [θ] (e.g. "Alþingi" is pronounced ['alθiŋkɪ]). (talk) 03:50, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Update- I clarified the intro a bit. Þ can indeed receive voicing in certain positions, but I think the original intro was implying that it is most commonly voiced. (talk) 04:29, 14 June 2013 (UTC)


At one place, this article writes about a phoneme /þ/. Should not it be /θ/? I think <þ> is the grapheme and /θ/ the phoneme, is this right - or am I missing something? (talk) 09:32, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Nope. You are completely correct. VanIsaacWS Vexcontribs 12:59, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Help request: Clarifying the origin of the article "ye" in English[edit]

In the article Eth, I just added the following two See also links:

My summary says:

14:16, July 12, 2014‎ Geekdiva (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (7,847 bytes) (+82)‎ . . (→‎See also: Because of some people (myself formerly included!) connecting either thorn or eth by themselves to "Ye Olde," I've added 2 See also links to clarify it was an abbreviation of eth + e, stacked, in Blackletter.)

I came here to do the same thing if needed, however at least twice in the article"s text, I think it says that it was the letter thorn alone that became the y in the "ye" form. So either I'm misunderstanding something in the two articles above and this article is correct, or this article needs to be corrected in at least two places.

My chronic illness suddenly is acting up again, so all I can do is put this here, hope it's clear, and hope someone else will pick this up, research it and...etc. Thanks in advance, --Geekdiva (talk) 21:31, 12 July 2014 (UTC) I probably won't make ti back here, btw. It just doesn't leave me room to follow up on stuff. Thanks.

"Ye" as "The"[edit]

As someone almost totally ignorant of linguistics, I have long wondered why, if the "Y"-shaped character is meant to represent an English typeface thorn Þ or þ, it would be used for a "θ" sound. I would have guessed that the English word "the" has actually long been pronounced with a "θ" eth sound represented by Ð or ð -- unless the "Y" shape was meant to represent both a thorn and an eth, without distinguishing the difference. But it seems that this character is always identified as representing a thorn rather than an eth. One possibility is that unlike modern Icelandic, older English in its written form never used the eth character at all, and always used a thorn to represent both pronunciations. I do notice in the article Wynn where it talks about runes, it states that "It is one of the two runes (along with þ) to have been borrowed into the English alphabet (or any extension of the Latin alphabet)."

I see the previous two queries here address pretty similar questions, but apparently not quite to my own point. Milkunderwood (talk) 23:20, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

There may be some confusion between Icelandic and the international phonetic alphabet:
The eth sound (IPA: /ð/) is voiced, as in "the": Unicode Character 'LATIN SMALL LETTER ETH' (U+00F0)
The thorn sound IPA: /θ/ is unvoiced, as in "thistle": Unicode Character 'LATIN SMALL LETTER THORN' (U+00FE)[sorry strike that nonsense; there should have been a third line but something seems to have gone terribly wrong when I copied it all together.--Boson (talk) 16:47, 17 August 2015 (UTC)]
I'm not sure what is meant by 'the English word "the" has actually long been pronounced with a "θ" eth sound represented by Ð or ð'.
--Boson (talk) 13:07, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
The article states that "Modern Icelandic usage generally excludes the latter, which is instead represented with the letter eth ⟨Ð, ð⟩; however, [ð̠] may occur as an allophone of /θ̠/, and written ⟨þ⟩, when it appears in an unstressed pronoun or adverb after a voiced sound." It means that /θ̠/ is allophonically voiced to [ð̠] when it appears in an unstressed pronoun or adverb after a voiced sound. Peter238 (talk) 14:59, 17 August 2015 (UTC)