Singing Loudly: Fun with Linguistics

Singing Loudly

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Fun with Linguistics

There is a verb "to inkle" whence inlking is formed--it means to whisper, and
was used beginning in the 14th century--even the OED doesn't know where it
comes from. This pleases me.

Can anybody figure out from where it comes (Will, Amber? The Scrabble playing legends)?
-x-

2 Comments:

I spent too much time trying to prove you wrong on this one--and can't!! Something about this makes me very uneasy...I'm going to ask my Comparative Grammar prof(he knows everything, really!)-- and will report back...

By Blogger Persephone, at 7:38 AM, March 09, 2005  

Is this helpful?

ETYMOLOGY: Probably alteration of Middle English (a) ningkiling, (a) hint, suggestion, possibly alteration of nikking, from nikken, to mark a text for correction, from nik, notch, tally, perhaps from variant of Old French niche, niche. See niche.
WORD HISTORY: Inkling has nothing to do with ink, but it may have something to do with niches. Our story begins with the Old French (and Modern French) word niche, meaning “niche.” It is possible that in Old French a variant form existed that was borrowed into Middle English as nik, meaning “a notch, tally.” This word is probably related to the Middle English word nikking, meaning “a hint, slight indication,” or possibly “a whisper, mention.” Nikking appears only once, in a Middle English text composed around 1400. In another copy of the same text the word ningkiling appears, which may be a variant of nikking. This is essentially our word inkling already, the only major change being an instance of what is called false splitting, whereby people understood a ningkiling as an ingkiling. They did the same thing with a napron, getting an apron.

By Blogger Amber, at 11:18 AM, March 09, 2005  

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