USAGE: "vixen" [was Re: COMMENT PLEASE]
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Monday, September 23, 2002, 2:08|
Quoting John Cowan <jcowan@...>:
> Now you want weird, consider "vixen". The /v/ (contrasted with the
> /f/ of "fox") probably comes from a dialect that voiced initial
> fricatives ("'What were you doing?' 'Zailin' the bloody boat.'"
> --Dorothy L. Sayers). But on investigation it turns out that *every*
> dialect has /v/ in "vixen"! How the devil did it become so uniform?
Also something I don't understand: why would it be "vixen" (with a
high vowel) rather than "vexen" (with a mid vowel, taking umlaut
and subsequent unrounding into account)? Did something like a Proto-
Germanic *fuks-, analogous with NHG <Fuchs>, remain in the feminine
but not in the masculine?
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637