hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 10 17:17:28 UTC 2010
"... _the then_ representatives ..."
from1855. Amazing! Had anybody asked me, I would have WAG-ed _the
then_ from more like 1965! Youneverknow!
On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 10:16 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
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> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: ffolliott
> More 1893 stuff and much earlier. Although I could not find the main
> 1892 article that is supposed to be definitive, the rest is rather
> convincing (to me). I added an extra item on a variation of double-f in
> a different context, but note that the explanation is similar (although
> the underlying source of the error is different). As for the letter, it
> makes perfect sense that the transcription was incorrect--note the
> comments in the clippings below about ffor, ffrom, etc.
> Notes and Queries, Vol. 305, Sept. 1, 1855
> pp. 169-170
>> The Double "ff," or Capital "F."
>> (Vol. xii, p. 126)
>> It has always been my opinion (formed from a long and extensive
>> acquaintance with manuscripts) that the recent practice of spelling
>> proper names with two /ff/'s instead of a capital letter, has risen
>> partly from a love of singularity, but chiefly from an affected
>> accuracy in following old family documents supposed to so written.
>> From the same cause we find many editors of ancient English poetry
>> giving us such forms as /Ffor/, /Ffrom/, &c., all of which, I contend,
>> are erroneous ; for the supposed double letter is only, in reality, a
>> single capital F, formed of two strokes (as was usual), and which
>> identical F is used in engrossing deeds in every solicitor's office.
>> Any person who will take the trouble to examine minutely the use of
>> this pretended double /f/, as compared with other capital letters,
>> will perceive the fallacy ; and this may be rendered clearer by
>> consulting a manuscript in which English, French, and Latin poems or
>> prose tracts are written by the same pen. Although the English capital
>> F may be (and has often been) erroneously copied as /Ff/ by an editor,
>> he would hardly venture to regard the same F as a double letter in the
>> French and Latin portions of the same manuscript. In conclusion it may
>> be remarked, that in Old English, as in German, there was a great
>> temdency to employ capital letters where we now use small letters, as
>> in the case of nouns, adverbs (compounded of a noun and preposition),
>> &c. In many instances, also, an ignorant scribe employed a capital
>> unnecessarily, and which in copying need not be imitated.
>> These surnames and some others are now-a-days often written and
>> printed as if the initial letter were originally a /double/ f :
>> whereas the modern character us but a corrupted from the single Old
>> English /capital/ letter ff, as in the word ffollow, simply a
>> duplication, for the sake of distinction, of the small letter f. There
>> may be a little affectation in writing double f instead of a single F.
>> I have seen the name "Foster" written in the following
>> way--"Ffoster." This is a step farther in affectation. I may as well
>> follow the fashion ; so, instead of W., I will on this occasion adopt
>> UU. or VV.
>> jj. cc. rr.'s question would have been more interesting and more
>> difficult to answer had he inquired why our ancestors habitually used
>> two small f's as a capital, and never two j's, or c's, or r's, or
>> other letters as such. Down even to the Stuart times, not only proper
>> names, but ffishe, fflesh, ffowle, ffriends, and ffoes, &c. were
>> treated in the same manner. Some families retain the ff on the same
>> "principle" as leads certain Brownes and Greenes to retain the final
>> e, as induces the Myddletons, and Lytteltons, to rejoice in a y and a
>> transposed el ; and leads certain Woodds and Scotts to indulge in a d
>> or a t too many, and certain Mathewsons and Jacsons in a t or a k too
>> few. It would be useless now to inquire why the then representatives
>> of these families did not reform their spellings when their neighbours
>> did. One perhaps despised new fashions, another might choose to spell
>> his name as his fforeffathers did. A third might obtain property
>> bequeathed to him by such a name and might wish to keep himself
>> distinct from another family of like name who had adopted modern
>> spelling. Whatever was the reason, no man can be blamed for spelling
>> his name as his family have done, though of course when modern
>> spelling has once been adopted by a family, to return to the old would
>> be affectation.
>> ONE OF THE FFRATERNITY
>> In the old law hands, the capital F was always represented by two
>> small f's ; and this custom prevailed amongst engrossing clerks and
>> writers in attorneys' offices to within the last forty years, and in
>> some instances even later. Hence those unacquainted wit the law hands,
>> seeing their names spelt in a deed (perhaps not fifty years old) with
>> what they supposed to be a double f, have, under the idea that this
>> double f was something unusual, and that their name was thereby raised
>> above a common herd of other names beginning with F, assumed the two
>> /small/ letters, instead of the capital F, by way of initial, and thus
>> arose this harmless absurdity.
>> How ridiculous it would seem to spell "ffrance" with two small f's ;
>> and yet there is exactly the same authority for this mode of spelling
>> the name of that empire, as there is for "ffarington" and "ffolliott."
>> M. D. W.
>> The duplicated /f/ at the commencement of these names has its origin
>> in the form of the capital /F/ in MSS. of the fourteenth and fifteenth
>> centuries, ff, which is usually retained in the Old English type, and
>> may be readily be mistaken for the double /f/. It bears no analogy to
>> the /Ll/ of the Spanish, nor to that of the Polish, nor, to come
>> nearer home, of the Welsh.
> The Gentleman's Magazine, October, 1836, Minor Correspondence, p. 338/2
>> G. I. begs to leave a notice a recent instance of vain affectation. An
>> Irish Peer, Lord French, whose family name is also French, writes the
>> title with two /efs/, viz. Ffrench. The origin and absurdity of this
>> may be easily shown. Formerly when in proper names, or any word
>> beginning a sentence, the initial letter was *f*, it was common,
>> particularly in the law hands, to write it with a double f, thus ff,
>> such being then the mode of making that letter a capital in
>> manuscript. This having been observed in old leases or other documents
>> by some person of little experience in chirography, it was doubtless
>> caught at as an eminent distinction, though it has no meaning
>> whatsoever. With respect to that Welsh name Lloyd, and some Spanish
>> names, which begin with a double /el/, they are pronounced by the
>> natives differently from words beginning with a single /l/.
> Notes and Queries, 8th Series, Volume III, 14 Jan. 1893, p. 24
>> Origin of the Double F as an Initial (See 8th S. ii. 456)--
>> This subject having been mooted in 'N. & Q.,' I am glad to have an
>> opportunity of saying a few words, as the genesis of the initial /ff/
>> was not mentioned in my 'History of the Alphabet,' nor so far as I am
>> aware, has it been explained in any palæographical work. It is not
>> correct to say, as at the above reference, that "the capital /F/ is a
>> combination of two small /f/'s, the curl of the middle being the
>> remnant of the second /f/." Our capital /F/ is, like our other
>> capitals, a return to the Roman lapidary form, which was used in MSS.
>> written in what are technically called "square capitals." At the same
>> time, it is perfectly true that in the "set Chancery hand" of the
>> fourteenth century a capital /F/ takes the form /ff/, which appears to
>> consist of two small /f/'s ; but if we trace this form backwards for
>> some two hundred years, it will be found that what appears to be the
>> second small /f/ is in reality merely a prolongation of the verical
>> tick at the extremity of the upper horizontal bar of the capital /F/,
>> thus giving a form somewhat resembling a capital /H/ with a cross-bar
>> at the top. It is this elongated tick which has been mistaken for a
>> second /f/. People who spell their names with /ff/ are merely using
>> obsolete law hand. Mr. Jones might just as reasonably spell his name
>> as Iones. From the "set Chancery" hand came the later "court hands,"
>> in some of which, as well as some copy-book hands, there is "a curl in
>> the middle of /F/," which may be considered as the survival of a
>> fragment of the downward tick at the at the end of the upper bar of
>> /F/, which got attached to the end of the middle bar ; but, as our
>> printing types have not have not descended from the law hands, the
>> tick at the end of the middle bar of our capital /F/ is, in fact, the
>> tick of the Roman "square capital."
>> Isaac Taylor.
> Willis's Current Notes, Volume 82, October 1857, p. 78
>> Origin of the word Fleta
>> In Brooke's Biblitheca Legum Angliæ is embodied a general account of
>> Laws and Law-writers ; among them under King Edward the First is
>> noticed--Fleta, seu Commentarius Juris Anglicani. ... Selden published
>> the work in 1647, from the only known manuscript, then in the
>> Cottonian library ; but as the author is wholly unknown, some doubts
>> have arisen as to the above assertion respecting the origin of the
>> word Fleta, which may be a corrupt phrase caused in the following manner.
>> The double F or Ff is used in law books to signify Digestum, the Ff
>> being in fact no other than a corruption or error of the copyists, and
>> by them substituted for the D of the German text, or of the
>> Court-hand, the initial of Digestum. Hence the first letter of the
>> word Fleta to signify Digestum. The fourth letter, that is to say the
>> t, was originally the rectangular g, and the stroke at the bottom
>> being obliterated or obscure, the remainder would resemble the Greek
>> Gamma or , which the copyist might mistake for a T. Restoring the
>> whole on these assumptions it would read thus--Ff. Leg. A., implying
>> Digestum Legum Anglie, which the Tract being Digest of the Laws of
>> England, is its proper title.
> On 2/9/2010 8:53 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> I don't know about medieval, but I would tend to trust a "keeper of
>> the manuscript department of the British Museum". While admittedly
>> the claim is a century old (1893), it still is long enough after
>> medievality to think that she had the data. But I am willing to
>> receive and evaluate more recent evidence -- or to speculate that she
>> thought of the early modern period as the dark middle ages when
>> compared to her own high Victorian era of scientific historiography. 8-)
>> On the other hand, this very day I came across the transcription of
>> New Englander Giles Firmin's 1639 (1640 N.S.) letter to his
>> father-in-law, John Winthrop (yes, the governor). ...
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