thee for the

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 13 15:51:01 UTC 2007

If you came from where I came from, you would say "/e?/ apple" (where /?/ is a glottal stop & /e/ is the vowel in "gay").

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-----Original Message-----
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>

Date:         Tue, 13 Nov 2007 10:30:37
Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] thee for the

At 9:48 AM -0500 11/13/07, Wilson Gray wrote:
>How about emphatic "ay" for "a"? "I don't mean A man, I mean THE man."
>I still make this distinction, but it's beginning to feel a little

I still hear this a lot in contrastive (and not necessarily pompous)
contexts.  (Im on high alert for these because it's something I've
written about in papers.)  The tricky thing (for some speakers,
anyway) is when you want to contrast an "an" indefinite with a
"the(e)" definite, since "ayn" is impossible (unless you're referring
to the objectivist) and stressed "AEN" sounds a bit weird:

It's not just A solution, it's THE solution.
??It's not just AN answer, it's THE answer.

It's not THE factor, but it's A factor.
??He's not THE expert, but he's AN expert.


>On 11/12/07, James Harbeck <jharbeck at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
>>  Subject:      thee for the
>>  A restaurant in the Agincourt part of Toronto (often called
>>  Asiancourt because of its high percentage of Chinese and other East
>>  Asian residents) is called Thee Asian Kitchen. You can find its
>>  website at . It serves Thai,
>>  Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. My initial take on it is that this is
>>  intended to be a somehow "classier" or more formal/archaic rendering
>>  of "the". It could, on the other hand, be a Thai name ("thee" is, I
>>  think, a word in Thai).
>>  A little looking on the web finds Thee Bungalow,
>> , in San Diego -- it has apparently been
>>  there for 30 years. You can also find assorted hits if you Google
>>  |thee shoppe|, for instance and
>> .
>>  Evidently this isn't especially uncommon or new (well, of course,
>>  "thee" can be seen for "the" in some Middle English texts) in
>>  signage, but I have to say I'm far more used to seeing "Ye" (always
>>  reanalyzed, of course -- nobody knows about thorn these days!). For
>>  this area in particular (Toronto and, more specifically, Agincourt),
>>  I think the "thee" is something new. The only other business I can
>>  find with "thee" in its name in the Toronto area in is
>>  Thee Place for Paws Grooming Studio in Barrie (an exurb of Toronto).
>>  I find three "Ye Oldes". (Googling "ye olde" gets 1,890,000; "thee
>>  olde" gets 3,630, but it would seem that "thee" can be used without
>>  the "olde" whereas "ye" always seems to get it -- I'm sure if anyone
>>  has exceptions I'll hear of it.)
>>  I wonder whether "thee" use in this way is on the increase or
>>  decrease or is level.
>>  Just incidentally, "kermit thee frog" gets 381 ghits. But I don't
>>  have a sense (purely impressionistically) that "thee" for emphatic
>>  "the" is really current.
>>  James Harbeck.
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
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