What is K doing in knife?
In the case of knife, the k is a legacy from the word it came from.
However, it’s more than that.
In all cases, a silent letter has been retained because it’s coupled with another letter to determine the sound.
It’s not silent at all..
Why do we not pronounce the k in knife?
It is not conclusively known why this occurred. However, some researchers believe it was due to the influence of Latin and French during this period, as these languages did not include the ‘kn’ cluster. This resulted in the ‘k’ being mispronounced or not pronounced and gradually eliminated.
Why is K silent in English?
The silent ‘k’ in words like ‘knight’, ‘knock’ and ‘knob’ is a remnant of Old English, and wasn’t silent at all but was pronounced along with the ‘n’. Nobody really k-nows why or when it became silent but this change is believed to have transpired sometime around the 16th to 17th centuries.
Where did the word knife come from?
The word knife in English comes from the old Old Norse word kníf. It most likely entered English vocabulary about 1100, according to mention of it in the definitive reference Anglo-Saxon and Old-English Vocabularies by Thomas Wright and Richard P. Wülcker, published in London in 1883.
Why do some words start with KN?
Etymology. The ⟨kn⟩ and ⟨gn⟩ letter combinations usually indicate a Germanic origin of the word. In Old English, ⟨k⟩ and ⟨g⟩ were not silent when preceding ⟨n⟩. … For example, the initial ⟨k⟩ is not silent in words such as German Knecht which is a cognate of knight, Knoten which is a cognate of knot, etc.
Why do knives have k?
Up until the 17th century we observed this practice and actually pronounced “knee,” for instance, as “k’nee” and “knife” as “k’nife.” But sometime in the 1500s we started dropping that “k” sound, probably because folks simply found that “kn” sound a bit clumsy to pronounce.