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Re: CHAT: "Nik"names :) (was Re: Middle Initials)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, February 25, 2001, 21:12
At 6:53 am -0500 25/2/01, Andreas Johansson wrote:
>Eric Christopherson wrote: >>On Mon, Feb 19, 2001 at 10:30:53AM -0600, Andrew D Chaney wrote:
>> > I'm no expert on Old English but flipping through my Old English Grammar >> > and Reader leads me to believe that "c" was the standard notation in Old >> > English. So I wonder where we picked up the "k". From differences >>between >> > dialects, perhaps??? >> >>Just a conjecture here, but maybe it was from Norse influence? > >I find that hard to believe -
So do I>
>After 1066, French of course became in primary written language, and French >of coure relies on "c" and "qu" for /k/. So presumeably we have to blame the >late-medieval british writers and printers for the electic mix of c's and >k's in modern English.
No, no - you are guilty of an anachronism (tho even modern French has some words where /k/ is written {k}, e.g. képi, kilo). {k} was used in Old French spellings; one finds, e.g. /k@/ variously spelled as _que_ or _ke_, /kEl/ as _quel_ or _kel_, /ki/ as _qui_ or _ki_' _keus_ = a cook; _kanque_ = Quant que etc. The {k} was part of our Norman heritage, the Norman scribes writing the 'hard c' before /e/ and /i/ with {k}, as well as respelling old English {cn} as {kn}; the Old English 'soft c' was respelled by them as {ch} in conformity with Old French practice where {ch} = /tS/; and the Old English {cw}, of course, got respelled by the Normans as {qu} since Old French, at least in some dialects, still preserved the /kw/ sound before back vowels. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================