A Quick Note On The Alphabet Before You Begin

Old English letters are usually pronounced the same way we pronounce them in modern English, however, below you will find the three Old English letters no longer used in modern English. To hear their pronunciation, select their IPA symbol.

Old English Letters
Letter Name Pronunciation
Ð / ð Eth TH
Þ / þ Thorn TH
Æ / æ Ash A

þ and ð are digraphs. This means they represent the same sound, much like the modern 'th' can be voiced (in words like 'this' and 'that') or unvoiced (in words like 'thick' or 'through'). The general rule of thumb is that þ comes at the start of a word and ð comes in the middle or at the end. However, you will often see them used interchangeably, with the same word appearing on the same page spelled with both ð forms and þ forms. You can even see words like 'oþþe' spelled 'oþðe' or 'oððe' so don't overthink it.

Old English has no silent letters, so you should pronounce every letter in a word. Remember, when in doubt, pronounce the word like you would in modern English. So long as you remember to pronounce every letter, how we pronounce the word in modern English is usually a good guide on how to pronounce in Old English.

Continue to Cases and Strong Masculine Nouns