On Language on Heck

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Feb 13 02:21:12 UTC 2006

>... even if the boy did
>say "Hech," the way Stowe recorded it shows that she understood it as
>the "heck" we know.

I don't think this is certain. That she recorded "Heck" may mean simply
that she heard /hEk/ or something she thought sounded like /hEk/. Whether
she understood it to be a euphemism for "Hell" or whether she took it as a
Scots interjection of unknown affiliations or whatever cannot be reliably
inferred from the passage IMHO. "Heck" /hEk/ seems to be have been a call
to a horse, as well as a surname and perhaps some other things.

OTOH, I don't mean to deny the *possibility* that it really WAS "heck" =

-- Doug Wilson

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