Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 16 01:13:07 UTC 2009

It seems to me that there ought to be a simple, straightforward answer
to Joel's question - cf. the well-known [b] vs. [B] alternation in
many of the world's languages. When I was taking Spanish 101, most of
my classmates tended to go with [w] over [B]. (I actually *used* the
language lab, so I knew better.)

However, I'm not the person to provide that explanation, unfortunately.

FWIW, my baby brother called me "Wusson" [w^sn] and my brother,
Garrett, "Dawit" [d&:wIt].


On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 5:47 PM, Joel S. Berson<Berson at att.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 8/15/2009 04:24 PM, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
>>I'd expect that the labialization yof the "R" of "Robert" would be
>>related to the common r>w in child language acquisition, as well as
>>the influence of the following "b"
> So why do we see "Rob" or "Bob" as the shortenings, but not "Wob"?
> Along these lines, my younger brother's early name for me was
> (transcribing the oral) "Guhn-Gee" (hard G with schwa and soft G with long E).
> Joel
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