Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Take a fillip from Phillip to make Philip

When is a Phillip not a Phillip? That's my pedantic problem for the day. Some Philips are spelled with one 'l', some are spelled with two 'l's, and it's damned hard to see the difference. Port Phillip Council has two 'l's, Philip Ruddock has one 'l'.

It's a little like the difference between 'lama', first name Dalai, and 'llama', the disagreeable beast. As Ogden Nash put it:

The one l lama,
He's a priest;
The two l llama,
He's a beast;
But I will bet
A silk pyjama
There's no such thing as
A three l lllama.

A note that Nash subsequently added to the poem informs us of a letter he received from a reader about an alarm-clock that rings thrice: a 'three alarmer'.

Who wants a silk pyjama anyway?


ras said...

Jesus, there's been some format changes!

I wonder if the french have the same problem with Phillipe and Philipe?

Philipe looks just plain wrong in my opinion

TimT said...

Ah yes. The Great Template Change of 2007 - it's right there in history, along with the Norman Invasion, the Hunnish Depredations, and the Black Plague.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

"Philip" derives from "Philippos", which is Greek for lover-of-horses (the "phil" bit comes from the verb, to love, and "hippos" means horse [hence "hippopotamus", river horse]).

Philologically yours,

Lexicon von Harlot

TimT said...

Thank you for the phabulous philology, o phlamboyant and phantastic Baron of the internatulan zone.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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