CHAT: Names of Latin alphabet letters
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Monday, January 22, 2001, 19:29|
It turns out that it was the Etruscans who gave the alphabet
letters their modern European names, breaking with the
Greek < Phoenician names alpha < alef, beta < bet, etc.
Their convention was:
Vowels were named after the vowel sound.
Stop consonants were named by *suffixing* the stop with /e/.
Sonorant consonants were named by *prefixing* the stop with /e/.
This pattern is remarkably well preserved in Modern English, allowing
for vowel shortening in closed syllables, the change of /e/ to /i/
in the Great Vowel Shift, and the softening of "c" and "g", which were
originally always /k/ and /g/.
/ou ~ @u/
/Ar/ (mysterious change in vowel)
/kei/ (perhaps influenced by name of "j"?)
/zi/ or /zEd/ < zeta
Oddly, the letter names are quite standardized, except for /zi/ vs.
/zEd/, but there are no standard spellings at all.
ObConlang: In Esperanto, the consonants are named bo, co, cho, etc.;
in Lojban, the consonants are by, cy, dy, etc. (y = /@/) and the vowels
.abu, .ebu, .ibu, etc. ("." = /?/).
There is / one art || John Cowan <jcowan@...>
no more / no less || http://www.reutershealth.com
to do / all things || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein