I looked up unproduced in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)¹ and it gave an example quotation from the 1965 edition of John Ireland's 1490 compendium The Meroure of Wyssdome ("The Mirror of Wisdom"):

It is better and mar digne and excellent to be a substaunce and natur wnproducit na to haue bene maid and producit of nocht.

I'm trying to learn how to read older forms of English (e.g. Old English, Early Modern English, etc.); but I'm unsure how to pronounce two words in that quote: digne and na. (I do know what they mean, though.) Based on the OED and Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) entries², I think na is pronounced /nay/, but I still have no idea of how to pronounce digne.

The English dialect these two words are a part of is Middle Scots, distinct from but roughly concurrent with Early Modern English.

Example Sentences for Context

  1. "digne"
  • OED Entry, sec. 1, quot. 6: a1450 Knt. de la Tour ii. 5 It is an higher and more digne thinge forto praise and thanke God.

  • DSL Entry, sec. 1, quot. 8: 1567 G. Ball. 115. Thy nobill actis digne of remembrance

  1. "na"
  • OED Entry, sec. 1, quot. 5: [1533] J. Gau tr. C. Pedersen Richt Vay 94 Ramember that thy marcie and grace is..greittar nay al our sinnis.

  • DSL Entry, sec. 2, quot. 2: Burgh Laws c. 77 (A). I graunt I dide other thing na I aucht to doo

  1. Also, "na" has a second meaning—rather than than, it can also mean nor. Is this pronounced differently?
  • sec. 1, quot. 4: 1398 Acts I. 211/1. That he sal nocht lette his office na the execucion of it
  • sec. 1, quot. 15: 1453 Reg. Dunferm. 341. Neuer to be herd in jugement na vtouth

¹ Subscription required.

² Main Entries:

  • See quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/… – TRomano Jul 25 '15 at 12:47
  • As I said in the question above, although it is an English word, it is not a Middle English word; it is Middle Scots. – SarahofGaia Jul 27 '15 at 22:41
  • The MED will give relevant information on the derivation and likely pronunciation of the word digne. – TRomano Jul 27 '15 at 22:52
  • But only for Middle English words, I gather, since it's a Middle English word you're referring. I'm referring to the Middle Scots word. – SarahofGaia Jul 28 '15 at 0:47
  • Even if one is derived from the other, one could still be pronounced differently from the other. – SarahofGaia Jul 28 '15 at 0:48

Judging by the range of alternative spellings for digne, and the pronunciations of the same word in Icelandic and old Danish, I'd say it was pronounced with a soft 'g', with a sound as the 'y' in "yoke".


Using the same deduction, I'd agree with your suggested pronunciation of na:


|improve this answer|||||
  • How would a "soft g" be pronounced? :/ – SarahofGaia Aug 30 '15 at 19:55
  • The soft g is not used in modern English. It is pronounced like 'y' in "yoke" or "Bayesian" – Born2Smile Aug 31 '15 at 0:01
  • 1
    I don't pronounce "Bayesian" like this, but the y is fine translate.google.com/#en/es/bayesian It's like a downward curl of the tounge. As a matter of fact google's pronunciation of digne isn't too bad, the g isn't as pronounced as it could be, but not bad. Ideally somewhere between translate.google.com/#en/es/digne and translate.google.com/#en/es/dein%20er (closer to the former) – Born2Smile Sep 7 '15 at 16:41
  • 1
    I wish I could help you better. If you were here, I'd pronounce it for you :) – Born2Smile Sep 12 '15 at 3:32
  • 1
    I believe you. :) Thank you so much, regardless. =^^= – SarahofGaia Sep 12 '15 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.