Þe Ðing About Truð

Þe ðing about truð and wið lies

Is þat boð are ðought often wið sighs

We shirk from boð ðings

Wið our heads neað our wings

And yet we all claim to be wise


Didn’t quite understand?

Þþ is the mostly dead letter thorn, which is pronounced as /th/ in words such as the, this, or that. You’ve likely seen it more commonly written as Y as in “Ye olde shoppe,” which would be why we all grew thinking the word is pronounced with a /y/ sound when in reality it’s really just “The olde shoppe” written using a mostly dead letter that is only recognized by other hardcore nerds and people from Iceland, where thorn is still in use.

For the sake of accuracy, however, every use of the dipthong /th/ is not the voiced dental fricative (thats a speech and language pathologist word, y’all, that means “when it is spoken with your teeth and voicebox”) as it is in that but rather is the voiceless dental fricative (“when it is spoken with just the teeth and air”) as it is in with. That sound used to be written with the now mostly dead, except in Iceland, letter eth: Ðð.

If you’re clever enough, to apply what you just learned to the limerick above.

If not, here it is in our standard modern alphabet;


The thing about truth and with lies

Is both are thought of often with sighs

We shirk from both things

With our heads neath our wings

And yet we all claim we are wise

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