Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just A Letter Makes the Difference
Look over at my sidebar. Go on. I put up a link to another blog, Pat's Caritas Christi Urget Nos joins Richard's Caritas Christi Vrget Nos. The Romans didn't have all the letters we modern westerners have. Go read the marvelous book by David Sacks Letter Perfect : The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z. You'll learn that the Romans didn't bother with J or U--they were invented long after the fall of the Roman Empire. "I" did double duty, hence the inscription on your crucifix is not JNRJ. "V" too, also filled in for "U." This urget/vrget thing made me think about two words that might have been difficult for Latins to sort out at first glance: VVVLA and VVLVA. Remember the archaic English expression Ye Olde? Guess what? "Y" was a fill-in for the voiced "th" before it was used as a sometimes-vowel. Think about yat, if you would.

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