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by Mark Israel
[This is a fast-access FAQ excerpt.]
The "y" here is a representation of the obsolete letter thorn,
which looked like "b" and "p" superimposed, and was pronounced
[T] or [D] (the same as modern "th"). The pronunciation of "ye" in
"Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe" as /ji/, which you sometimes hear, is a
[Dave Wilton has an extensive set of word and phrase
origins at http://www.wordorigins.org/]