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Re: Ou[...]



In a message dated 3/11/02 4:04:27 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
david.marjanovic@gmx.at writes:

> That's AFAIK more complicated. The letter G was invented by a certain
>  ?Marcus ? Ruga (rest forgotten...) in some early times (exact date also
>  forgotten) and is actually a C with an added \ . This confusing phenomenon
>  arises from the fact that the Etruscan language didn't have soft (voiced)
>  consonants and therefore used the Greek gamma (toppled into < , then
>  rounded) for k; then the Romans learned to write from the Etruscans (not
>  directly from the Greeks, as used to be assumed) and used C for both,

If I remember correctly, for a time, "q" was used for the /k/ sound before 
"u" and "o", "c" for the same sound before "i" and "e", and "k" before "a".  
Eventually, "q" became combined with "u" to write the combination /kw/, and 
"k" was nearly dropped from the system entirely, being used in Classical 
times only for a handful of words and abbreviations.

As David notes, all this stems from the Etruscans having provided the Romans 
with three different letters for the /k/ sound:  in the Phoenician alphabet 
adopted by the Greeks and later passed on to the Etruscans, the precursor of 
"c" had originally stood for /g/; "k" for /k/, and "q" for /q/ (a voiceless 
uvular stop, produced with the very back of the tongue against the uvula).

Oh, ah, dinosaurs...well, in Chinese dinosaur names, "q" stands for an 
aspirated palatal affricate something like an Italian soft "c" produced with 
an extra puff of air; and in the name _Nqwebasaurus_ it stands for a palatal 
click.

Later,
Nick P.