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Sunday, November 27, 2011

W, w November, the Alphabet Project

W, w: Indirectly derived from the Semitic, waw, "peg."  Originally as the name suggests, co-joined Us. (V, as a distinct letter did not exist except as a variant of U, which is why the letter is not named “Double-Vee.”) In some typefaces, such as Garamond, we can still see the overlapping tops. Along with Y, W is one of only two letters that is sometimes a vowel, as in a few archaic Welsh-derived words, such as cwm, “a steep hollow.”

wed: From the Old High German, wetti “to pledge,” similar to the Gothic gawadjon, from which also come engage, wage, wager.

word: From the Latin verbus, whence, also verb. Capitalized, it refers to the Bible, “the Word of God,” as well as the Son of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God.” (John 1:1) The original Greek, logos, meant not only word,” but “reason” or “purpose.” John seems to have had in mind the Aramaic translation of Isaiah, 45:12 "I, 'by my word,' have made earth and created man upon it."

work: Effort undertaken unwillingly or for pay. (wûrk) The lips squeeze together and then pull apart, expressing a resolute pant, followed by /û/ and /r/ in a straining combination between grunt and growl as if urging some ponderous boulder up a pyramidal slope before concluding with a plosive /k/ as it drops into place amidst a puff of dust. From the Old English worc, werc, and woerc, and thence from the Latin urgere by way of the Germanic, werk, which comes from the Greek, ergon – from whence also energy and erg. Changes wrought by six millennia have almost restored the word to its original Proto Indo-European root, werǵ- as one of the earliest words ever spoken.

Only a few more days until the RETURN OF THE STOOPID CONTEST!  November 30th

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