The Oxford English Dictionary on eð

edh, n.

Pronunciation: /ɛð/
Forms: Also eth.

Name of the Anglo-Saxon and Old Icelandic letter, or the phonetic symbol, ð (‘crossed d’).

  • 1846    E. J. Vernon Guide Anglo-Saxon Tongue i. 4   đ (eth) our soft th, as in other.
  • 1875    Encycl. Brit. I. 612/2   In order to express the corresponding sonant (heard in ‘that’, and confusedly denoted by the same compound th) a stroke was drawn across the simple d (ð), and the new letter was called edh.
  • 1965    C. Barber Flux of Lang. vii. 130   The Old English scribes confused matters a little by using two symbols,‥‘thorn’, and‥‘eth’‥indiscriminately.
  • 1969    English Studies Suppl. p. ii,   Conybeare‥made no use of thorn, Thk [i.e. Thorkelin] none of eth in transcription, though both sometimes wrote th as in modern English.
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3 Responses to The Oxford English Dictionary on eð

  1. AnWulf says:

    Perhaps for þose (ðose?) of us who have a hard time telling the slight difference between two th sounds in normal speech, you could make a list of which are “hard” and which are “soft” and which one gets þ and which one gets ð.

    Oðerwise (oþerwise?) I’ll just use which ever looks good at the moment. I tend to use þ more often than ð but if there is truly a proper way ðin I’d raþer do it right and be steady! Or, just pick one and use it all ðe time!

  2. AnWulf says:

    I don’t like using ð for most words at the beginning of the word simply because ð looks like a d and huru Ð looks like a D and would encourage people using the “d” instead of “th” for byspel: “dat” instead of “that” … and others.

    Here’s info about eð

    Almost all words beginning wiþ a dental fricative have /θ/. A small number of common function words (ðe Middle English anomalies mentioned below) begin wiþ /ð/. Ðe words in ðis group are:
    •5 demonstratives: ðe, ðis, ðat, ðese, ðose
    •2 personal pronouns each wiþ multiple forms: ðou, ðee, ðy, ðine, ðyself; ðey, ðem, ðeir, ðeirs, ðemselves, ðemself … þu sounds right to me
    •7 adverbs and conjunctions: ðere, ðen, ðan, ðus, ðough, ðence, ðiðer (ðo some speakers pronounce þence and þiðer wiþ initial /θ/)
    •Various compound adverbs based on ðe above words: ðerefore, ðereupon, ðereby, ðereafter, þenceforþ, etc.

    •Most native words wiþ medial ‹th› have /ð/.
    •Between vowels: heaðen, faðom; and ðe frequent combination -ther-: boðer, broðer, diðer, eiðer, faðer, Heaðer, laðer, moðer, oðer, raðer, sliðer, togeðer, weaðer, wheðer, wiðer, smiðereens; Caruðers, Gaiðersburg, Neðerlands, Wiðerspoon, and similar compound names where ðe first component ends in ‘-ther’ or ‘-thers’. But Ruþerford has eiðer /ð/ or /θ/.
    •Preceded by /r/: Worðington, farðing, farðer, furðer, norðern. (*earþ seems to be an exception).
    •Followed by /r/: breðren.
    •Loanwords wiþ medial /ð/:
    •Greek words wiþ ðe combination -thm-: algoriðm, logariðm, rhyðm. Also asðma, ðo here ðe ‹th› is nowadays usually silent.

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