Adders, Nadders & The Nasal Shift


Adders, Nadders & The Nasal Shift, originally uploaded by Ben909.

After a week of pink evening skies and atmospheric mists, and some very active fallow deer whilst walking the dog, I was looking forward to capturing similar scenes this weekend, swapping the dog for the camera. Typically with wildlife photography, it didn’t go to plan. No doubt if I’d left the camera at home and taken the dog instead, it would have been different. So here’s an adder I prepared earlier.
There is a small but well known group of words in English in which the combination with the indefinite article led to the shifting of the nasal from the article to the noun itself. Thus a nadder became known as an adder, and a napron became an apron. These words are listed in etymological dictionaries but with no comment on the reasons for movement of the nasal.

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