Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 6 01:52:00 UTC 2008

I was in the Army with a Geechee named "Roussel" roo SELL [ru 'sEl].
He once commented: "When I was stationed at Fort Polk, (Louisiana),
man, I _STOOD_ in New Orleans."


On 2/5/08, James Harbeck <jharbeck at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
> Subject:      Re: Liddell
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> Thanks for the onomastics info, Mark. No comment on the origins
> though, eh? I thought I might be able to find something in my own
> references, but I lack one on family names. Fortunately, Russell is
> also a first name, and I find in my Oxford Dictionary of First Names
> that it comes from French "Roussel," a diminutive form of "rous"
> meaning "red". But that's just one name.
> So I did a bit more looking at (any reviews of their
> reliability?). I find Twaddell is a Scottish and northern English
> variant of Tweedle, and that Tweedle is a topographic name for
> someone who lived in the valley (dale) of the river Tweed. Cattell is
> a Welsh name, variant of Caddell, which is formed from a Welsh
> personal name Cadell derived from Welsh "cad" = "battle". Scammell is
> an occupational name for a worker in a meat or fish market, from
> "scamol" = "bench" (on which meat or fish was laid out for sale).
> Tyrrell is either from French "tirel" = "an animal that pulls on the
> reins" (from "tirer") or from Thorold, which is from ON Thorvaldr,
> "Thor" + "valdr" = "rule". Chappell comes from exactly what you would
> think it comes from. Twitchell is unexplained. Brickell comes from
> Welsh "brig" = "hilltop" + OE "hyll" = "hill". Winchell is from OE
> "wencel" = "child". Liddell is from "hlide" = "loud" and "dael" =
> "valley".
> So in fact there's quite the heterogeneity here! Perhaps the spelling
> of many of these tended towards the -ell spelling under the influence
> of other names with -ell spellings (there are certainly also -le
> versions of some of them). The stress on the first syllable most
> likely comes from English stress rules of the times when the names
> were coming about, I suppose; it's known that stress was by default
> (with exceptions, of course) on the furst syllable in OE, and
> compounds generally got main stress on the first element and a
> secondary stress on the second element (first syllable of each if
> they were polysyllabic). I don't know exactly when the tendency to
> view a double letter at the end of a word as an indication of stress
> shift came about, but a French influence does seem plausible, doesn't
> it? ...Which _still_ leaves it pretty wide open, chronologically.
> So that's just a littell more information...
> James Harbeck.
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