A single vs a double consonant issue.

According to The Grammarist: till, until and ’til:

  • Till, as a variant of until, is a preposition meaning up to the time of. Till—not ‘til, an unnecessary abbreviation—has been in the language for centuries, and there’s no reason not to use it.

Actually, until is derived from till as Etymonline explains:

Until

  • c. 1200, from till (prep.). The first element is un- “as far as, up to” (also in unto), from Old Norse *und “as far as, up to,” from Proto-Germanic *und- (cognates: Old English oð “up to, as far as.

Till:

  • Old English til (Northumbrian) “to,” from Old Norse til “to, until,” from Proto-Germanic *tilan (cognates: Danish til, Old Frisian til “to, till,” Gothic tils “convenient,” German Ziel “limit, end, goal”).
  • My question: is there a plausible explanation for the different end spelling of the two prepositions, single l vs double l? Apparently the original term till had a single l in its Old English form. Is it a phonetic issue which makes the sound of till more natural with a double consonant?

Answer

My German grammar says in compounds and derivations of one-syllable words ending with -ll such as

  • all fill full skill till

one l is dropped in British English as in

  • almost although to fulfil (AmE to fulfill) skilful fully until

ll remains before -ness: dullness fullness

Source: Adolf Lamprecht, Grammatik der englischen Sprache. Publisher Cornelsen. Page 343.

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