Ye (pronoun)

Ye (/) is a second-person, plural, personal pronoun (nominative), spelled in Old English as "ge". In Middle English and early Early Modern English, it was used as a both informal second-person plural and formal honorific, to address a group of equals or superiors or a single superior. While its use is archaic in most of the English-speaking world, it is used in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, Northern England and Cornwall in the United Kingdom, and some parts of Ireland to distinguish from the singular "you".[1]

Confusion with definite article

"Ye" is also sometimes used to represent an Early Modern English form of the definite article "the" (pronounced /ðiː/), such as in "Ye Olde Shoppe". "The" was often written "EME ye.svg" (here the "e" is written above the other letter to save space but it could also be written on the line). The lower letter is thorn, commonly written þ but which in handwritten scripts could resemble a "y" as shown. Thus the article The was written Þe and never Ye. The "thorn" character was supplanted during the later phases of Middle English and the earlier phases of Early Modern English by the modern digraph "th". Medieval printing presses did not contain the letter thorn so the letter y was substituted owing to its similarity to some medieval scripts, especially later ones. This substituted orthography leads most speakers of Modern English to pronounce definite-article "ye" as /ji:/ ("yee"), when the correct pronunciation is /ðiː/ ("the") or ə/ (About this soundlisten).