View Full Version : Spelling the surname ffrench

Prince of Dzun
8th May 2003, 18:45
Does anyone happen to know the reason why it is that the Irish (and others) spell the surname French as ffrench or Ffrench. There must be a valid reason that is a little more creditable than saying " it's Irish".

Prince of Dzun

8th May 2003, 18:59
From an article in the Guardian(date unknown):

"The use of two small f's was thought to have something to do with the Normans. However, it appears to have begun in the 18th century with misunderstanding of a manuscript form of capital F, resembling two small f's joined together. This was used not only for names but for any word beginning with F, nouns being then commonly written with initial capitals. The best comment on this silly practice is a note on the peerage of ffrench of Castle ffrench (1798) in The Complete Peerage (1926), which concludes: "This ffoolish ffancy, which is aggravated if the F be written Ff, has happily not been repeated by any member of the peerage, and, considering the spread of education, is not likely now to occur again."

Prince of Dzun
9th May 2003, 19:51

Thanks very much for the interesting reply. I asked a lot of people about this and nobody had a clue . The best I could do was to find a reference in the index of the Encyclopedia Britannica that said ff meant " first family ". This explanation falls far short of explaining why ff is used, it is rather annoying to read a book in which the name is used continuously as it seems to cause a sentence to be disjointed. Once again thanks for the reply.

Prince of Dzun

Tuba Mirum
9th May 2003, 19:57
I always imagined it was connected in some way to the fact that Welsh uses written "ff" for the English "f" sound, while a single written "f" in Welsh sounds more like English "v".

10th May 2003, 04:47
It looks f f u c k i n g silly to me

10th May 2003, 10:19
Isn't this the sort of banality that belongs in Jet blast?

Send Clowns
14th May 2003, 01:20
Should it not be spelt "Ffrançais"?

14th May 2003, 19:23
It is so that you can be clearly differentiated from the cheese eating surender monkey branch of the species.

14th May 2003, 23:45
It's one of those silent f's, like the one in chips.......

I know, there's no f in chips, there's no effin cod either.

Anthony Carn
15th May 2003, 15:58
Maybe they're just bad at effin spelling.