A letter for the sound "th"

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A letter for the sound "th"

#1  Postby Paul1 » Apr 26, 2010 6:38 pm

So in our lovely language, called English, we have a few sounds formed by combining consonants. The first two that spring to mind are the, and thought. How t and h make these sounds is beyond me, and we, and five other western European languages (Danish, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish: sometimes d; Welsh: dd) are the only languages retarded enough to borrow letters to form this sound.

It's time you Danish stop being lazy and start putting the cross back through the top of the d!

For example:
[thought||| the]
Icelandic: Þ, þ ||| Ð (upper), ð (lower)
Greek: Θ, θ/ϑ ||| N/A
Albania: θ ||| N/A
Hebrew: ט ||| N/A
Arabic: ث ||| ط

And then we have "ch" and "sh"...need I go on? :crazy:

EDIT: Corrected the example
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#2  Postby rJD » Apr 26, 2010 6:56 pm

We used to have such a letter called, if I recall correctly, the "thorn". It was discarded as surplus to requirements, & people used "th" in its place. It looks a bit like a modern "y", which is why you occasionally see "Ye Olde...", which is therefore properly pronounced just as the modern spelling would be.

While we're reintroducing the thorn, we could do with a soft "zh" symbol too.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#3  Postby Thinking Aloud » Apr 26, 2010 7:16 pm

The book I've just been reading has the old English "thorn" as written something like this: Þ þ ...
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#4  Postby Thinking Aloud » Apr 26, 2010 7:20 pm

While we're reintroducing the thorn, we could do with a soft "zh" symbol too.

Same book suggests an old letter for a "gh" sound called "yogh" using the "z-with-a-tail" symbol. Not quite the same, but...
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#5  Postby rJD » Apr 26, 2010 7:28 pm

Thinking Aloud wrote:The book I've just been reading has the old English "thorn" as written something like this: Þ þ ...

My knowledge of Middle English is limited to the introductory notes on The Canterbury Tales & a few Oxford University podcasts, but I'm pretty sure it (the symbol for the thorn) changed over the centuries before being dropped. I'd forgotten all about the "yogh".
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#6  Postby Thinking Aloud » Apr 26, 2010 7:43 pm

rJD wrote:
Thinking Aloud wrote:The book I've just been reading has the old English "thorn" as written something like this: Þ þ ...

My knowledge of Middle English is limited to the introductory notes on The Canterbury Tales & a few Oxford University podcasts, but I'm pretty sure it (the symbol for the thorn) changed over the centuries before being dropped. I'd forgotten all about the "yogh".

Quite right ... I just looked it up, since this thread got me curious:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_letter
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#7  Postby Paul1 » Apr 26, 2010 8:40 pm

Let's reintroduce it!

For the - we'll stick with the Y idea. Ұ, ұ
For thought - we'll go with Iceland's idea. Þ, þ

I þink we should have ұese letters, what are your þoughts?
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#8  Postby Thinking Aloud » Apr 26, 2010 9:18 pm

I already read ұT (old spelling of 'that') as bink/pink and yeese, so I þink you're onto someþing.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#9  Postby Rawnaeris » Apr 26, 2010 10:34 pm

I þink ya'll're onto someþing. Although the "þ" is a bit hard to distinguish from "p" for me. I know my handwriting would suffer furþer... (and since I'm not positive I'm using the correct character, my already poor spelling would probably suffer too.)
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#10  Postby MrFungus420 » Apr 27, 2010 10:14 am

Paul1 wrote:So in our lovely language, called English,


English is not phonetic. We would need about 14 more letters to do that.

Something like the Unifon alphabet, a phonetic alphabet based on the standard English alphabet. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/unifon.htm
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#11  Postby DoctorE » Apr 27, 2010 10:15 am

Þ
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#12  Postby devogue » Apr 27, 2010 10:16 am

I think it's okay as it is.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#13  Postby The_Metatron » Apr 27, 2010 11:08 am

rJD wrote:We used to have such a letter called, if I recall correctly, the "thorn". It was discarded as surplus to requirements, & people used "th" in its place. It looks a bit like a modern "y", which is why you occasionally see "Ye Olde...", which is therefore properly pronounced just as the modern spelling would be.

While we're reintroducing the thorn, we could do with a soft "zh" symbol too.

Now þat's wicked cool. Never heard of that letter.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#14  Postby Luis Dias » Apr 27, 2010 11:29 am

I don't understand the OP. Is he suggesting portuguese are stupid to use the word "D" as it is supposed to be used, as in the sound "deh"? As in "Destruidor" (destructor) or "De" (Of, but read as "The")?

I always thought (ah) that the english people were just insane to use th but what do I know.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#15  Postby katja z » Apr 27, 2010 12:24 pm

ˆˆActually, a generalized discussion of the notation of a particular sound over various languages is highly problematic. In this case, the crucial difference between English and Portuguese (or Spanish) is that in the first, the voiceless and voiced "th" sounds are phonemes, distinct from "t" or "d", respectively. In the latter, it's just a matter of realization of the phoneme "d", so there's no definitely no need to use a different grapheme.

But I don't really understand this concern over a single digraph "th" in a language whose orthography is full of di- and trigraphs. How is writing »þoughts« more logical than »thoughts«? »þots« now, that would be sweet and simple, and a much better fit between what's written and what's pronounced. But as Mr. Fungus has noted, anything like a phonetic notation would require a lot more letters than English has now, creating a new set of problems.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#16  Postby rJD » Apr 27, 2010 4:37 pm

Why do we need a letter "x"? "Ks" should suffice (except where "z" would be better!).
---
What was George Bernard Shaw's mocking spelling of "fish"? Something along the lines of "ghot", given as a puzzle?

"Gh" as in "enough"
"O" as in "women"
"T" as in "initially"

(from memory, might not be exactly as he composed it)
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#17  Postby natselrox » Apr 27, 2010 4:45 pm

In Bengali, we have 40 letters in the alphabet.

Th (as in 'The')- দ
Th (as in Goethe) - থ
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#18  Postby Thinking Aloud » Apr 28, 2010 8:27 am

rJD wrote:Why do we need a letter "x"? "Ks" should suffice (except where "z" would be better!).

But ... but ... Planet X! X-rays! The X-factor :?

rJD wrote:
---
What was George Bernard Shaw's mocking spelling of "fish"? Something along the lines of "ghot", given as a puzzle?

"Gh" as in "enough"
"O" as in "women"
"T" as in "initially"

(from memory, might not be exactly as he composed it)

I recall seeing it as "ghoti" with the "ti" from "station" making the "sh" sound.

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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#19  Postby rJD » Apr 28, 2010 9:08 am

Gack! I was close.
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Re: A letter for the sound "th"

#20  Postby Luis Dias » Apr 28, 2010 10:28 am

OMG that is funny.
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