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Re: The Roman alphabet and its original letter names.

From:Tristan <kesuari@...>
Date:Friday, February 14, 2003, 2:07
Nik Taylor wrote:
> 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".
With /h/- being added by some by analogy (every other letter (except W and R by non-rhotics) have the sound they make in them, so why should <h> be any different?) or (these days) because that's what everyone else says. Interestingly enough: I've always called the letter /h&itS/ (Catholic education :P ), and I said that once a few years ago, and my siblings (who had the same Catholic education though...) made fun of me for it. Now, they're all saying it too. (Who has the last laugh now? Hah!) Apparently this is reflected in Australia at large.
> The modern name for "R" > comes from an er -> ar sound change (which also survives in the word > "parson").
And plenty of other words too, it's just normally hidden better (by orthography: 'star'). The British pronunciations of 'clerk' and 'derby' show it. Old pronunciations of 'university' do as well.
> 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/.
I'd heard it was because it was interpreted as a U-I ligature or something?
> THe names of "J", "V" and "Z" are by analogy.
Unless you say 'zed' in which case it's what happens when you let the pesky people speak Latin and 'zeta' follows some Vulgar Latin sound changes. Double U is obviously descriptive; it used to be two Vs when there was no difference between V and U. Tristan.


John Cowan <cowan@...>