Fire and hemlock revisited

Ven ven at
Sun Jan 28 21:02:26 EST 2001

Nat asked

> And why and how did Ralph go from "Rafe" to "Ralf" (or did it perhaps 
> go the other way in England after "Ralf" moved to America)? With the 
> New York short "a", Rafe is so much more attractive a spelling... 
> Ralph had become a sort of "joke name," at least in my childhood 
> circles. Not least because it's used as a word for vomiting. I can't 
> hear "Georgie just Rafed his lunch..."

"Rafe" is the way posh people pronounce Ralph and regard as 
"correct". I'm not sure how long the two pronunciations  have 
existed in parallel or which is, in fact, earlier, however I believe it 
derives from Ranulph. I guess Christopher's uncle was a "Rafe" 
because he was upper class (or just about).

You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list