Monday, June 17, 2013

Y O Y? from Cherry

Dear The Word Spy,

Y does English have PHone -  why not Fone? It seems strange to me.

And what's the point in having an X in the alphabet?  Y couldn't U just say Bocks ? Don't you think it's so strange and making it more complicated? 

In other news, my teacher told me about your blog! I am so happy! I am one of the BIGGEST FANS of yours! Do you prefer to go as,The or Word? Or, THE WORD SPY :D 


Dear Cherry,

What great questions. 

That PH - it does seem crazy, when we have a perfectly good letter F. The reason is that words like  phone came originally from Ancient Greek words, where there was a separate PH letter, called PHI. The word PHONE comes from an ancient Greek worφωνή  (PHONE) which meant "sound". 

But other languages haven't worried about that. In Spanish, for example, they write TELEFONO and FILOSOFIA.  Sigh. For some reason, in English we like to hang onto the old spellings - we seem to like seeing the history of a word inside the word...

Ancient Greek is also where X comes from! It was added to the alphabet the Romans used to make the sound KS. But you are right - we could just write BOCKS or ACKS or HECKS. After all, we don't write  GOLDILOX. (Ah, here comes another sigh.) 

Very glad you are happy to find my blog - I am very happy that you have found it too. I loved your questions and hope you will write to me again.

(You can call me The if you like.)

yours wordy friend The



No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your question for the Word Spy ...