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Old Dots

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Barbara-B
826883.  Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:49 am Reply with quote

Q: We all know that the letter "i" became dotted in the late middle ages, but what letter was dotted in England centuries before that?

A: As far back as the 8th century Anglo-Saxon scribes dotted the letter "y", this was to make easy to tell apart from the minuscule letter called a "thorn" in some scripts which looked like an upside-down "h" to modern eyes. The "thorn" had a sound rather like the "th"s of "this" and "that" and it is a misreading of the minuscule thorn that resulted in signs and phrases such as "Ye Olde Tea Shope" (if the misreading had been of the majiscule or regular thorn the result would have been "Pe Olde Tea Shope" because that thorn looks more like a modern "p" than a "y".

 

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