The end or the beginning?

We have arrived at Z – the end of our alphabet journey to 2016.

If we stop for a moment to look at Z – we discover that it is the least used letter of the English alphabet.  It can be traced back to the Romans, who got it from the Greeks, who got it from the Phoenicians, who perhaps got it from the Semitic alphabet – but whoever and however it arrived, it is interesting that it ended up at the end.  All of this got me wondering why our alphabet is ordered in the way it is.

It seems that the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet, some time around the eighth century BC and retained the order of letters.  In turn, the Phoenicians probably copied the order used by in the Semitic alphabet, but why they chose that particular order no-one really knows.

Interestingly, this brings us full circle to Akkadian, which was one of the Semitic languages, and the language that we mentioned a couple of weeks back when we looked at the ‘discovery of writing’.

Over the last 26 days we have taken an alternative look at each of the 26 letters that make up all the thousands of words we read and write.  As a writer, I wouldn’t want to be without them.

We are at the end of 2015, but tomorrow we have all the excitement of being in a new year, wondering what the next twelve months will bring us.  Many New Year’s resolutions will be made, and many will be forgotten.

We can promise you one New Year’s resolution that we want to firmly and resolutely keep for the next twelve months (and hopefully beyond).  That is, to keep writing so that we can bring you some great stories…

We look forward to continuing our journey and we hope you will come along with us…

 

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Isabel, this is very interesting. I have just returned from Spain having spent a year teaching the English language to non native speakers, It amazed me just how different the Spanish language is to English. Although there are of course many similar words, Spanish letters and sounds are made up from several different languages apparently! Therefore the Spanish pronounce Z in different ways depending on the area and dialect used which makes it a little difficult to learn! Often when one tries to pronounce a Spanish Z (badly in my case), a native speaker will be pleased to help you correctly pronounce the letter, the English pronunciation of course is very easy, well easy if you are an English speaker!

    • Thanks Justin, yes, it is fascinating the way that our mouths and vocal chords adapt when we first learn to speak so that we can pronounce our native language perfectly, and yet when we try to learn a language later in life it seems almost impossible to get that pronunciation just right. And the Spanish Z is a case in point!

    • Hi Justin
      I’m writing a section of a book where someone goes to film the places of Picasso’s early childhood in Malaga – Andalusia. Is there anything odd about the way they speak Spanish in that region?

      Oh by the way the Picasso I mean is: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

      Er.. Yes, him!

      thanks and kind regards

      David

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