Q: The broadcast media seem to have decided that "Ralph" should be pronounced "rafe". I've known of, for example, Ralph Richardson and Ralph Vaughan Williams for most of my life, but suddenly and fairly recently they've become "rafes". Any justification for this?
A: "Rafe" is the traditional English pronunciation. "Ralph" is a modern spelling-pronunciation, and hence associated with the newly literate in an age of general literacy. The Norman "Radulf" (Radulphus) became "Raulf" - and "Raoul" in France