Re: The Roman alphabet and its original letter names.
|From:||Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, February 13, 2003, 22:43|
Steven Williams wrote:
> So, how _did_ the ancient Romans sing the 'ABC Song'?
Vowels were named by their sound, nasals, fricatives, and liquids were
/e/ plus the consonant, stops were consonant plus /e/, except that Q and
K were /ku/ and /ka/ respectively; y and z were Greek borrowings and
were, I think, called "I graeca" and "zeta" respectively. I think X was
Y /y/ or "i graeca"
The modern English name for "h" comes from the French "ache" or
something like that, which in turn came from midieval Latin "acca", a
name derived from an attempt at [aha] by people who lacked /h/; the loss
of /h/ had merged the names of "e" and "h". The modern name for "R"
comes from an er -> ar sound change (which also survives in the word
"parson"). The name for "Y" comes from /y/. When OE merged /y/ and
/i/, the name of "y" would've become homophonous with "i", and so,
presumably in an attempt to approximate /y/, they began to say /wi/.
THe names of "J", "V" and "Z" are by analogy.
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