Date: Sun, 2 Jan 1994 14:46:17 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Headache For: Gwyn Williams and anyone else interested in Aches (Happy New Year!) Gwyn asked on Dec. 23 re a Thai pronunciation of and with [tS] rather than [k]. As in all such issues, I followed the example set by my mentor in Old English (at UTexas), Rudolph Willard, and consulted the venerable OED. A good habit to cultivate. It makes clear that the /k/ in the verb is original from OE , but the noun is derivative and was OE . The latter palatalized in the South, as expected (cf. church, ditch -- note not only before a front vowel), and in Shakespeare is clearly pronounced that way, even punning with the name of the letter H. However, for whatever reason, the unpalatalized Northern /k/ form spread south, and replaced the palatal /C/, which remained reflected in the spelling. Somehow the Southern spelling for the noun spread to the verb, which had always been /k/. So the spelling is now a fossil of a reversed (or better, overrun) sound-change. was originally spelled with or , having been borrowed through Latin and Old French, but apparently the change in spelling to resulted from the Renaissance re-introduction to Greek, and the realization that the trans- literation should represent the Greek /x/, proving of course that a little learning is a dangerous thing. A colleague of mine, who is a near-native speaker of OE, Carl Berkhout, says that he occasionally hears the palatized pronunciation in England, but has the impression that it is more idiolectal than regional or social. This strengthens the probability that it is just a spelling-pronunciation. Even by OED times, the palatalized pronunciation was reported as highly marginalized and had become voiced, with becoming "eddage". It is possible, of course, that some early British expatriate who had this idiosyncratic usage was, like Anna, the founder of a tradition that has been passed down in the system. Such things do happen. The moral is, keep your OED handy; you never know when it will be useful in settling a question. And condition your students to do likewise (supplemented where appropriate by DARE, of course). Otra vez, Happy New Year and Xin Nian Kwai Le, you-all. --Rudy Troike