Thu 21 Apr, 2016 11:14 am
In studying Modern Greek, I ran into the word "an (αν)", which translates into English as "if". Meanwhile, in the quote above, from Falstaff in Henry IV, Part II, the archaic use of "an" can be translated here as "if". Can anyone tell if it migrated into Shakespeare from the Greek, Or did "an" arrive in Shakespearean English via some other route?
I heard a rumour that Falstaff didn't like Ringo. This sort of confirms it for me.
An, meaning if, is an Anglo-Saxon survival, it was used well into the 17th century and in some regions survived into the 18th century. It has absolutely no relation to Greek.