Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Feb 8 04:13:48 UTC 2010

On Sun, Feb 07, 2010 at 10:32:49AM -0500, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> When I was ten or eleven I saw an old movie on TV that contained the
> following bit of dialogue. It always stuck in my mind, which shows that by
> that age your kid's fate is sealed.
> I'm posting it because I just saw the movie again for the first time since
> and it confirmed my recollection. Till now I had no idea what movie it was
> because this was the only part I remembered:
> Johnny Jones: This is Scott ffolliott, newspaperman same as you....Mr.
> Haverstock, Mr. ffolliott.
> Scott ffolliott: With a double 'F'.
> Johnny Jones: How do you do?
> Scott ffolliott: How do you do?
> Johnny Jones: I don't get the double 'F'.
> Scott ffolliott: They're at the beginning. Both small 'F's
> Johnny Jones: They can't be at the beginning.
> Scott ffolliott: One of my ancestors was beheaded by Henry VIII. His wife
> dropped the capital letter to commemorate it. There it is.
> Johnny Jones: How do you say it, like a stutter?
> Scott ffolliott: Just a straight 'fuh'.
> There was, of course, the noted English historian "Charles ffoulkes" [sic].
> His surname derives from the same source as that of Guy Fawkes, so perhaps
> Mr. ffolliott's practice reflects that of Mr. ffoulkes's ffamily.

...All of which reminds me of my favorite passage in all of
P.G. Wodehouse (and that is a very high peak indeed):

   "Sir Jasper Finch-Farrowmere?" said Wilfred.
   "ffinch-ffarrowmere," corrected the visitor, his sensitive ear
detecting the capitals.

-- P. G. Wodehouse, "A Slice of Life"

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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