--- In cybalist@..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@...>
> From: Richard Wordingham
> It's free variation, as far as I can see, just like there being no
orthographic contrast between /k/ and /tS/ in Old English. Either
spelling may easily correspond to either pronunciation, although <cg>
(or, to be pedantic, <c3> with a yogh) was generally preferred to
<gg> (<33>) by the Anglo-Saxon scribes, perhaps for the sake of
better legibility or for some obscure aesthetic reason. <gg> is found
especially in the earliest texts, and just occasionally in later
ones. Other known varians include <cgg> and, rarely, <gc> and <gcg>.
Scribes just have their whims and fashions (cf. the obligatory Modern
English spelling <ck> rather than <cc> or <kk>).
To anybody who wonders what the socio-phonological state of affairs
might have, here's an example from a Danish sitcom: Copenhagen police
interrogate local Bornholm cop: "Where were you last night?". He
answers "Åc^irk&by". The latter town is written Åkirkeby and thus
pronounced with /k/ by almost all of the rest of the country (but as
c^ or further in nearby Scania; Bornholmers are known as 'reserve-
svenskere' in Denmark). The interrogator would never say Åc^irk&by
himself. This is of course fiction. A similar real-life event I heard
on the radio, the Copenhagener corrected the Bornholmer.
Point is, no one (except a dialect researcher or the like) would
write anything but 'Åkirkeby'. Cf. Krivichian (I think it was)
skiling- and s^iling-, in the same language.
> He also notes that <sceacga> is possibly a borrowing from ON
(though one wonders why we have <shag> rather than +<skag> then).
>To form a hypocorism, take a word and truncate it (if you think it's
too long), leaving only the initial syllable and the onset of the
second; you may geminate the latter, and if you manipulate its
phonation in the process, or mutilate what used to be a cluster,
nobody will mind; finally, add weak-noun inflections. "What is your
name, boy? Wulfhere? That sounds too serious; we shall call you
Wuffa." The operation of the process is easy to see in <frox, frosc> -
Which reminds me of Swedish Brucen "Bruce Springsteen",
Clintan "Clint Eastwood", which strengthens my suspicion that the
North Germanic suffixed definite article is a refashioned weak