Crosswords0 min ago
Roman 'V' for 'U'
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There is a story from the small town I'm form in Wales - it's nickname is "The Old Parish".
It goes that in the 1700's someone died aged 28, and in those days, the age of the deceased would be carved on the coffin lid.
Carving curved letters was hard, so the carver used 7777 (ie 7x 4), upon which it was commented that the deceased was older than Moses - hence "The Old Parish" (the rugby ground is called the four sevens and the team nickname is the old parish).
I would suspect that this would be a similar reason behind the V instead of a U - carving a U into stone is not easy, at least not as easy as a V, but that doesn't explain the other letters?
Probably should have read your entire post first!
Very worthy answer, Clanad, thank you. I always thought the Romans, once in northern Europe, and coming across the W sound, decided represent it by pairing two letters that aren't found together in Latin, namely a G and a U. Thus we have the french name of Guillaume, The Romans would have pronounced this (near enough) as Willaum. Later, those unaware of the rule would read it and pronounce it as Gwee-yome. But the european medieval W instead of a GU is considered to come from the Runic 'wynn' represented by two boxes side by side - which again is possibly based on a double Greek omega...Fascinating stuff, and could go on and on, but....
Mata Hari - no we don't. But there is intense scholarly research into how pronounciation changes in populations over time. This has shown that changes tend to follow very similar patterns, no matter what language is spoken. By tracking back and correcting these changes they can come up with a pretty good approximation of what speech sounded like in the distant past.
Gouldc - just as well the deceased wasn't aged 33, or some other awkward number!
The Latin alphabet of 23 letters was derived in the 600's BC from the Etruscan alphabet of 26 letters, which was in turn derived from the archaic Greek alphabet, which came from the Phoenician. The letters J, U, and W of the modern alphabet were added in medieval times, and did not appear in the classical alphabet, except that J and U could be alternative forms for I and V. A comparison of the Greek and Latin alphabets shows the close relation between the two...
I am not sure that I would take the word of an assoc prof of engineering on the influence of latin letters.
Quintilian has something to say about old spellings
Although there are old inscriptions, the oldest latin poem to be dug up and identified is around 25 BC,
Elegiacs by Gallus from Qasr Ibrim Journal of Roman Studies 1979 Anderson and Nisbet
Quom and maxumus and god knows what Oh and Kato for Cato etc but- the u's are not v's in the document as far as I recall. They refer to quintilian alot, whose immensely boring treatise on Latin grammar first or second century is still to be had, and read if you want.