Qryztufre (qryztufre) wrote in q_continuum,

Q before U



the letter Q

A nice summary of the history of the letter Q:

During the Old English period, we didn't use Q in English: we wrote, for example, CWICU for 'quick' and CWEN for 'queen' (Old English, like Latin, preferred C for the /k/-sound instead of K). But then the French-speaking Normans conquered England, interrupting the English literary tradition, and, when English once again began to be written after the Conquest, a number of French spelling conventions were introduced, including the business of always writing Q for the /k/-sound when the next letter was U. And we're still stuck with it.

(Via aldiboronti at Wordorigins.)


Art:The ancient history of the letter Q.
The ancient history of the letter Q.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The letter Q is of uncertain origin. There is a sign in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing which denotes a looped rope (1). Another sign in the shape of a doubled loop is found in a very early Semitic writing used in about 1500 BC on the Sinai Peninsula (2). Both of these early signs have been compared by some scholars to the Q sign which was developed in about 1000 BC in Byblos and other Phoenician…
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