15 Nov 2012

THE ORIGIN OF "Z"

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

Thanks to Alphabet Thursday my general knowledge was enlarged tremendously ! And if you read this post, yours will be too !!

I knew that Z (named zed) is the twenty-sixth and final letter of the (ISO ???) basic Latin alphabet. What I didn't know was the abreviation ISO.  Madame Wikipedia knew of course ! It's the abreviation from International Organization for Standardization ! I feel already less stupid.

Continuing my investigations I also learned that Z is a Semitic symbol and was the seventh letter, named zayin which possibly meant "weapon". Now I had another problem what is "Semetic" ? Madame Wikipedia explained "In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical "Shem", Hebrew: שם‎, translated as "name", Arabic: ساميّ‎)! Fortunately Blogger accepts Hebrew and Arabic writing ! What I couldn't find out was if the Z semitic symbol was at the end of a seven letter long alphabet, but I don't think this will cause me sleepless nights. For a chatterbox like me I only find it a little short.

In the 1st century BC, Z was introduced again at the end of the Latin alphabet to accurately represent the sound of the Greek zeta. The letter Z appeared only in Greek words, and is the only letter besides Y that the Romans took directly from Greek ! It was certainly not used very often if it was only used in Greek words, as more people spoke latin or latin dialects, which are called today French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. I too find it rather difficult to find nice words starting with a Z, which is the reason for this post.

In earlier times, the English alphabet used by children terminated not with Z but with & ! Now I wonder how & became the symbol of "and" ??? like Jones  & Co ?

It's also an enigma to me why Z meant "weapon" in a semetic alphabet, and became the symbol for sleeping people or animals in the latin alphabet ?



10 comments:

Jo said...

Now I know more about the letter Z from your interesting post. Thanks! I already knew what ISO is as it is used here on the mine. I just LOVE the photo of Rosie with zzzz emanating from her mouth, LOL! Have a great day. Jo

Art of RetroCollage said...

Fascinating info--just the kind of info I love!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Very informative post ~ now makes sense why there doesn't appear to be lots of words beginning with Z ~ love your kitty sleeping ~ great position ~ ( A Creative Harbor) ^_^

A Lady's Life said...

I wonder where this letter came from and why there was a need for it?

EG CameraGirl said...

Fascinating, Gattina. This helps explain why there are so few words beginning with Z!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Always good to learn some new facts when blog hopping.

Reader Wil said...

Interesting Gattina. I know that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters .The zayin is the seventh letter amd tav is the last one. It's very difficult. I tried to learn it before I went to Israel. Dina from Jerusalem Hills daily photo, speaks Hebrew fluently. That is very clever !
Now our meeting in Amsterdam.Yes it was nice to be able to meet Kay, her husband and Mara. Due to delays I had to leave earlier, because I had to travel by two trains to Rotterdam, then by two metros, and finally by bus to Krimpen. Fortunately Iwas back home at 20:05. Anyway it is great to see other bloggers!

Mara said...

I like the word zebra!

Sue said...

That's a cute comic!

=)

Jenny said...

Zis was quite clever and interesting!

Love the comic!

Love your style, girl!

Thanks for linking.

A+