I lay awake for ages thinking about this to the point that I was doing 12 cups of coffee, a packet of smokes, and averaged 17 new grey hairs each day! But thankfully, I found truth, and as quoted; “The Truth Shall Set You Free!”…and it seems only fair, because of the kind of guy I am, I felt I should share it with you so as to have you enjoying your bedtime too.
THE LETTER Z…the lonely letter.
What letter is the least used in the English language? I thought Q, Katie thought X, but lo and behold it’s the letter Z. Now buggar me, you learn something every day. so, when this question was put to me, I just had to find out more about it, and here are some fascinating facts about it. For those of you who require other stimuli while being ‘blown away’ go fetch your substances now (not that I condone it) and put on some Floyd and prepare yourself!
The Greeks (those great people them) started with the Z in zeta taking it from the Phoenician zeya meaning “weapon”, although their Z looked more like our I. By the times those intelligent Wogs got hold of it the letter had transformed into the modern-day letter we all know and love. But it had a pretty patchy career…
When Greece was invaded by those warlords the Romans, the Roman Censor removed the letter from the alphabet altogether due to its pronunciation being so close to R, and it was subsequently replaced by the letter G – you see, Z was the 7th letter, but that’s another story. The Z was fully reinstated with back pay 200 years later because it was needed in Latin to sound out (only) words inherited from Greek.
And now for the real cool story; Z was not always the last letter (notwithstanding the above story with it’s altercation with G) although it has always been the 26th letter. For what seemed like ages, & was the last letter (known as ampersand), pronounced “and” but recited with the Latin per se meaning ‘by itself’. The position, and pronunciation eventually ran together with “X, Y, Z, and per se and” becoming “X, Y, Z, ampersand”.
Z, as mentioned, is the least used letter in the alphabet, but it is used more often in American-English than British-English which has frustrated Microsoft spell checkers for ages!
So there you go my fine wee scholars, I hope that alleviates any concerns you had for the letter Z…may you enjoy the view from your zenith!