Tuesday, December 2, 2008

whatever happened to ed?

Ted Rogers passed away. I’m shocked. His first name is actually Edward!?! Since when is Ted short for Edward?

Apparently shortening of names is not the only way to get a nickname. There was a trend for rhyming nicknames and swapping of letters.

“There was a trend of creating rhyming nicknames (arbitrarily changing the first letter) in the 13th and 14th centuries. That's where we get all these surprising forms like Dick (and Hick!) from Richard, Polly from Molly (for Mary), Bob, Dob and Hob from Rob (from Robert), Bill from Will (from William); and Hodge from Roger.”

There is a great sense of history when examining linguistics.

“Nicknames of this sort are among the oldest parts of language still used. Jack remained a nickname for John for centuries after its original connection and lost. Until the 20th century, one could still find Neds and Nans for Edwards and Anns, again, although the original connotations have long since past. Some connections are so old that we do not really understand how it happened, as in Peggy/Margaret or Polly/Mary or Billy/William
Edgar’s Namebook


No really. I’ve always been interested in names. I’ve been buying baby name books since I was in public school. Even though I never knew the Ted/Edward connection it shouldn’t have surprised me so much. I knew about Bess and Elizabeth and Dolly for Dorothy. And those seem just as odd.

Ah Ted Rogers, posthumously stimulating the masses with sociolinguistics. Is there anything you can’t do?

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