What Patrick said. This is probably a retention of the /k/ at the end of
the original *-līk- suffix.

It might help to point out that OE superlatives were (with a few
exceptions) made with -ost -- e.g. lēoflīcost -- which probably would
have prevented the /k/ from being palatalized to /tʃ/ (as it was in the
positive form, hence the word <luflych> that I found in my ME book; unless
it palatalized in the positive form lēoflic and then spread to the
comparative and superlative analogically).

Considering that the middle vowel of OE lēoflīcost was unstressed it's
understandable if in this ME dialect it got reduced to a mere schwa sound
in <louelokkest>, which I guess happened to be written with <o>. That's the
best explanation I can come up with.


On Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 3:10 PM, Patrick Dunn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> One thing that occurs to me is that in Old English, the suffix that became
> -ly was -lice.  So, for example, "lovely" would be "leoflice" or "luflic".
>  That {k} may be a survival of the original {c} which I learned to
> pronounce as a palatal stop or an affricate.
> How it might have been pronounced in that dialect of middle English, I've
> got no clue to offer, though.
> On Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 1:03 PM, Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > I've been considering this on Google+ - in Gawain and the Green Knight
> > you'll find the words "louelokkest" and "comlokest" ("loveliest" and
> > "comeliest"). What I've been trying to work out is *how* are these
> > pronounced? Given that Gawain was written in either Cheshire or
> > Staffordshire, I'm not sure to what degree pronunciation is believed to
> > follow southern Middle English dialects. Given that I (Cheshire-dweller
> > that I am) can read Gawain without much difficulty and people with very
> > traditional Cheshire dialects find it almost entirely intelligible, I'm
> > trying to imagine how an elderly Cheshire speaker might render the words
> > "loveliest" and "comeliest".
> >
> > I can't imagine any reason why they might say /kʊmlɒkest/ or /lʊvlɒkest/,
> > or use /ʧ/, /ç/ or /x/ instead of /k/. I can only think of it as being
> some
> > quirk of spelling (like the use of "qu" vs "wh", "ɜ", "þ" and "y").
> Trying
> > to imagine it, I can only hear /kʊmleɪst/ and /lʊvleɪst/. Of course, I
> > might very well be getting the wrong end of the stick here.
> >
> > I'm not sure to what degree Great Vowel Shift-age has happened here, but
> > I'm happy with how the vowels sound, so that's not a worry.
> >
> > Sam Stutter
> > [log in to unmask]
> > "No e na'l cu barri"
> >
> --
> Second Person, a chapbook of poetry by Patrick Dunn, is now available for
> order from Finishing Line
> Press<
> and
> Amazon<
> >.