proceed
Posted: 07 September 2013 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3018
Joined  2007-02-26

So what’s the deal with this word, apparently from the Latin procedere via the French proc├ęder, being spelt “proceed” rather than “procede”?

Seems to be the odd man out, cf intercede, recede, concede.

Was it ever spelt “procede”?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 September 2013 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4650
Joined  2007-01-03

Yes.

From Chaucer’s Second Nun’s Tale, line 328:

The goost that fro the fader gan procede Hath souled hem.

The double-e spelling can be found in the version of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes found in Bodleian MS 263:

Remembryng stories of antiquite, Afforn prouidyng that tresoun nat proceede, Beth ay most dreedful in prosperite.

I can’t find a date for this manuscript, but it’s probably late fifteenth century. (It seems the Bodleian’s web site is even more incomprehensible than that of the U of Toronto library system, and I didn’t think that possible. I can’t find an online catalog description of the manuscript, which would include the date it was copied.)

My guess would be the double-e is there to represent the long vowel, but I can’t say for sure without delving into the early manuscripts, the dialects they were written in, etc.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 September 2013 08:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  20
Joined  2013-08-22

There’s also succeed and exceed. According to The History of English Spelling by Upward and Davidson, in early modern English there are forms like interceed, preceed, recead/receed, but they didn’t last.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 September 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3446
Joined  2007-01-29

My guess would be the double-e is there to represent the long vowel

But the vowel is exactly the same as in recede, etc.  I doubt there is any explanation other than that’s how it happened to happen.

Profile