--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, Michael Everson <everson@...>
> >I was referring to the phonetic significance; I wasn't suggesting
> >that the usage came from Irish. (I think the Irish influence is the
> >barring of d to form <ð> and a similar barring of b in Old Saxon.)
> Neither of those occur in traditional Irish
> orthography. It appears that the Saxons innovated
> eth.

You don't think the bar is just a form of the Irish dot over the letter? I=
the scheme was incubating in Irish, it could easily have been established
in a foreign language where it was needed. It reminds me of the chaos
of thorn and eth in late Old English, compared to the clear distinction in =

Old Norse. <f> and barred 'b' in Old Saxon could be a similar example
of foreigners (probably Englishmen) using the ill-exploited resources of
their own alphabet better for a foreign tongue.