Ye | (

Ye Olde Fish Shoppe

02018Q3 REYKJAVIK: The Autumnal equinox has passed and now we are getting more darkness than light every day until the winter solstice.

🍾Ye. The artist formally known as Kanye West.

Kanye West recently announced a name change. He is now Ye. So what.

Immediately, the inner fact checker's ears perked-up when in an interview last year Ye said the word has religious significance for him. He said: “I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means ‘you'.

Well, that's pretty easy to confirm. Project Gutenberg has over 57,000 books available as text files, so we downloaded the King James Bible. After a bit of PHP code, we removed punctuation, split on spaces, counted the unique words and sorted by frequency. Below is the list of the top 40 unique words and the number of times they occurred, in order of popularity.

It is common practice to remove stop words, things like and, or, but, etc. We left those in. Also, you'd normally remove personal pronouns like he, she, him, her, it, you, etc. The problem here is that Ye means You, so removing personal pronouns would remove it from the analysis. The bold words are the terms left when all the stop words are removed.
[the] => 64,193
[and] => 51,752
[of] => 34,787
[to] => 13,660
[that] => 12,922
[in] => 12,724

[he] => 10,413
[shall] => 9,840
[unto] => 8,997
[for] => 8,914

[i] => 8,847
[his] => 8,473
[a] => 8,232
[lord] => 7,828
[they] => 7,376
[be] => 7,032
[is] => 7,013

[him] => 6,652
[not] => 6,611
[them] => 6,424
[it] => 6,142
[with] => 6,059
[all] => 5,637

[thou] => 5,473
[thy] => 4,600

[was] => 4,524
[god] => 4,436
[which] => 4,412
[my] => 4,368
[me] => 4,094

[said] => 3,998
[but] => 3,988

[ye] => 3,981
[their] => 3,931
[have] => 3,909
[will] => 3,843

[thee] => 3,825
[from] => 3,656
[as] => 3,521
[are] => 2,970

Ye is certainly not the most popular word in the Bible; the most popular word is the. Even if we remove all the common words and keep personal pronouns, Ye is still lower on the list than lord and god.

The King James Bible is a fascinating first attempt at an English translation, and in the process they purposefully choose to use both singular and plural forms of personal pronouns used as subjects and objects. These are things we have lost in our modern English, but convey extra meaning. You replaced the singular subjective form of Thou. You also replaced the singular objective form of Thee. You triples-up its duties in the plural subjective form Ye.

When the serpent said to Eve, "...Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" It didn't mean "You singular subjective", it was referring to "Ye, plural". This is partly lost in more modern translations. (Which have a whole other knock-on affect if you take the written word literally)
For the 400th anniversary, BBC Radio 4 did a 3 part series on the King James Bible. Well worth the listen, because so many phrases we use in English on a daily bases came from this work.

Ye has another lost meaning

It turns out Ye isn't the most popular word in the Bible, The is, but in a round-about way, Ye means The.

Old English used to have several additional character glyphs that are no longer there. One of which was the character Thorn. This still exists in Icelandic as the letter Þ. Looking through the archives, it is hard to imagine we haven't discussed this before!

In the past, English used Þ much more, but it fell out of fashion as Þe (or the) began to be replaced with 'Th', which is the same sound as Þ. The scribal abbreviation for þe was þͤ and because Þ and Y look nearly identical in medieval English blackletter, it wasn't long before þe became ye.

So the next time you see "Ye Olde Fish Shoppe", Ye is really a misspelling (and mispronunciation) of The, which is really Þe. The rest is Ye Olde History.

Material Confernce
November 16th, 02018
Reykjavik, Iceland
It's not too late to attend the Material Conference in Reykjavik November 16th. If you can't be here in person, we are offering an online Pay what you can streaming pass. A donation is not required, just be sure to register in advance to get the video link and reminder when the event starts. All the proceeds go to paying for the video archives for everyone to watch.

Tsukiji fish market

This week, after 83 years, the famed Tokyo Tsukiji fish market is closing its doors. It all sounds very dramatic, but in many ways it is simply an overdue practicality. When it opened in 01935 it was a fish and produce wholesale market. As time grew, it became a tourist attraction. As Tokyo grew, so did its needs. The fish market became even more popular and more and more was crammed in. Over time, it was no longer sustainable and they started to look for a larger home. They found one a few kilometres away at Toyosu Market and are moving there. This means that many of the touristic features of the market, such as the blue fin tuna auction will no longer be available to the public. The ground where the current Tsukiji Market is located will become temporary parking for the upcoming 02020 Olympics, then turned into some sort of smaller fish market for the tourists. Tsukiji is made-up of two markets, the inner and the outer. The inner is where all the animals and produce are sold. The outer market is more shops, restaurants, book stores, etc. The outer market is not moving, but it’s fate is tightly intertwined with what happens in the future to the inner market.

There was a quote about the bluefin tuna: "there is a person alive today who will be the last person to taste bluefin". Implying that they are so over fished, rare and on the verge of extinction that within our own lifetimes they will disappear. They are making strides to have farm raised bluefin, but these are massive animals that are used to travelling the ocean in search of food.

What keeps rattling around in my head is also a quote from the Long Now (or revive and restore) about animal extinction. “If you want it to survive, eat it”. Meaning that we are in no shortage of cows or chickens. If we make a viable business around the product, then there is a massive incentive to keep making more of them. On the surface this makes complete sense and seems to be working, except in the case of the bluefin. We are certainly eating it and trying to farm raise them, but we’re not sure it is actually going to work.

Which brings us back to Tsikiji Market. (now Toyoso Market). With the bluefin tuna auctions out of sight, what impact with that have? Were people going to see these majestic animals before they go extinct? Where they in awe of the price? If this is no longer an event, will people care enough to worry about the animal? Is this auction driving some awareness of the problem or exacerbating it?

One a side note: NHK (Japanese national broadcaster) has an English version of the channel. It works as a giant soft-power propaganda machine to help people to come, visit and see more in Japan. One of the shows they produce is called “Trails from Tsukiji” which takes a single product and profiles it from source to sale. It is a fascinating look at the whole process and I hope that it continues, maybe under a new name "Trails from Toyosu".

400+ weeks young.

We just had our 400th week anniversary. 🍾 Here's to 400+ more.