22.214.171.124:03: WHY NICHOLAS WITH AN H?
Above: 'Nicholas' in Tangut as 4884 2946 5560 0493 2ni4 1ko1 1la1 2sy4
Saint Nicholas died 675 years ago today. I would expect the ch of Nicholas to correspond to Greek chi, but in fact it corresponds to Greek kappa in Νικόλαος <Nikólaos>. Wiktionary says the English name was borrowed from Old French Nicholas. Since the Latin form of the name is Nicolaus, why isn't the English name †Nicolas?
My guess is that Nicholas originated in France as a hyper-Hellenicism: 'Greek use ch. This name is Greek. So it must have ch.' But it originally didn't!
Aren't there other Latin words with ch for Greek k?
And/or other hyper-Hellenicisms? I can't remember. I vaguely recall Nicholas Ostler's
Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin had something to say about
this, but I don't have my copy on hand.
In any case, the h has now spread within English to the
which seems to date from the 1960s.
Three other mysteries involving this name:Why does it begin with M- in parts of Eastern Europe: e.g., Lithuanian Mikalojus, Polish Mikołaj, Czech Mikoláš, Slovak Mikuláš, Hungarian Miklós, Ukrainian Миколай <Mykolaj>? A dissimilation of *ni? Analogy with 'Michael'?
Why do the Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian forms end in [ʃ] rather than
[s]? Is Hungarian s [ʃ] instead of sz [s] a spelling
pronunciation of Latin s? Did the Hungarian form spread
Why is the Ligurian
with -chi- [ki]? Does *-ico- regularly become -ichio-