Re: The Letter "K"
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, March 2, 2004, 18:24|
On Monday, March 1, 2004, at 11:16 PM, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 15:51:37 -0800, Akhilesh Pillalamarri
> <valardil@...> wrote:
>> It makes no sense the letter K is in the latin alphabet, if the original
>> "C" in latin coveyed that sound. All the places i've searched said that
>> was used in greek words, but the romans didnt borrow "pi" to represent
>> words tat could otherwise be spelled with "p." I suspect tat the "k"
>> have been pronounced [x]. Does anyone know the purpose of k?
> Originally, <K> was in Old Latin the only way to represent /k/.
What is your evidence?
All the evidence of which I'm aware points to the earliest Latin use as
being a fairly unthinking adoption of Etruscan use, i.e. C = /k/ before /e/
, /i/ & cons.; K = /k/ before /a/; Q = /k/ before /o/ and /u/. For the
non-Etruscan /g/, C was adopted simply because it would appear that the
tradition of B, C, D having once denoted voiced plosives (the letters were
originally western Greek variants of beta, gamma & delta) was preserved by
the Etruscans even tho they didn't use them as such.
> Gradually, over time <C> (which at that time represented /g/) came
> to replace <K> in almost all its uses. Even later, but still during
> the Republic, <G> was invented based on <C> to represent /g/.
That would surely be an even more bizarre scenario than the one I've
understood. Why, if you have a perfectly good letter, i.e. K. which always
represents /k/, should you at some stage replace in most cases by one
which already represents /g/ and then go on to invent an unnecessary
addition? It doesn't make sense. Why didn't D similarly replace T,
leading to the development of a new letter for /d/, or B replace P?
Also, your scenario, for which I await evidence, completely ignores Q.
"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760