minstrel: Bards, Ceilidhs, and Ye Olde Englyshe

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Fri Apr 25 07:58:59 PDT 1997

On Fri, 25 Apr 1997, Rockall Herald/Auntie Jen wrote:

> > First off, the practice of using all these "y"s and "e"s.  For a time
> > during the development of Middle English, "y" and "e" were
> > interchangeable, much like "u" and "v" were.  So thys would be just as
> > correct as this.  
> You do mean "y" and "i" were interchangeable (as your example shows), 
> don't you?  And they remained so well into the seventeenth century.

Oops!  Of course I do.  Thatnks for pointing out my boo-boo.

> >Alfredo can  help me on this one.  However, the practice
> > of adding superfulous "e"s on the end of words that otherwise don't have
> > them was a Vicortian romantic convention to make something sound archaic.
> I beg to differ.  Also "common modern" practise originated in the 
> Victorian era, there was *no* rule about adding final "e" or not until 
> the Enlightenment, when They more or less invented "proper" spelling.  
> Look at Chaucer, for example--sometimes he uses them, sometimes he 
> doesn't, and the pronunciation thereof depends wholly on metrical 
> demand.  The word "kind" could be rendered kind, kynd, kinde, or kynde.

Ah, but therin lies the difference.  Chaucer added an "e" when he spelled
his words (or his scribes did, or scribes copying his MSs did...) *when it
was needed* for meter, rhyme, or what-not, to reflect teh actual
pronunciation.  The superflueous "e"s on the end of Olde Englishe are not


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