Friday, March 6, 2015

Q is the loneliest letter


¿Quien sabe? Because Q, number 17 in the Latinate lineup, 
is one of the loneliest letters. Only Z is lonlier—so it picked up a French tail to compensate. Call it a Qu cluster. Blame the dangly bits.

Q rarely ventures out without its sidekick, U. It's a Geminid twinning. It's an Indo-European thing. But there's another IE pairing nobody ever wants to talk about. Q & P. Yep. Qoppa and Phi Φ are deep-throated soulmates. Fraternal twins, I think. Or maybe it was the milkman. Certainly Indo-European.

There's a reason why Q and P are 16 and 17, roommates in the Latinate lineup. Joined at the hip, or maybe at the back of the throat and lips. It was a weird palatovelar land grab. But then they split up, both keeping their dangly bits. They were both a bit queer. Or maybe Q just had a digraph breakdown constantly switching between languages like that (or bad scribes), and lost its courage or its dangly bits. Or both.

Then Q expanded its horizons, it became Latinate triplets: C, K and Q were all one sound. One thing. But Q had this thing for  voluptuous rounded vowels. Why, you might ask? Ask Verisimilitude. Or Carol Doda. She knows. UU.

See, K had this exclusive thing going on with pointy A, it only had eyes for A. Especially two AAs in a row. K also coveted its neighbors cows. Forget about wives. No one had the heart to tell K the As were olly-olly oxen bhoys. Good for a ploughman's lunch. We all have been known to revise history to suit our needs.

And so, C, an omniglot at heart, took all other juicy vowels hostage. Especially E. But I'm off task. We were discussing (or maybe cussing) Q and U. Always parters in crime. perhaps a little QU-QU. Say it isn't so! It was U too. QU and double U! (2Us). Out, out damned digraph!

Rules are rules. But Q had a bad gamma cough, (Qôp), it peed its pants in church (remember the dangly bits?) and ran off with U. Forever partners. Except for the Etruscans, they used QV, but hey, there was no V yet. Let's not quibble. Once F carded wool. But F was a rake. F was a cad. (Forget about carding wool. Sheep lie.) 

Why? Por quoi?  See, F had other plans. F was raking chaff from straw, and busy sowing wild oats. The problem was that U was a bit of a johnny-come-lately to the literacy scene. F was U and V's father. So the Etruscans should've used QF. I dare you to say it three times out loud on a crowded train.

And, there you have it. U was the progeny of F, yes, F. That's faw, or waw, if you insist (mind your Ws and Vs). F was a bit of a rake. F got around, F begat almost as many children as Robbie Burns or Niall of the Nine Hostages (and none of them kids in the feckin Irish alphabet, I might add). F was ancestor of UVW and Y. Don't ask me why. F needed a lot of progeny to tend the fields.

A deep throated sound: uvula vulvula. Yeah, when the soft C crept into Church Latin, it was hell inniu, I mean in a handbasket for those hard Cs expectorating on the church floors throughout the liturgy. No more Celts but selts. Ask the cwen. Incunabula quern, quunt. The quack in the cosmic egg.


Because gimel was once a camel, a ship of the desert, and kappa was the hollows of the hands, as if scooping water from the stream, it held an offering of water. I heard that BUT! We're not discussing Arabic here. Besides, there's no one sound to which that Arabic sound corresponds, we get Qoran, or Koran.

And the poor monkeys of Gibralter were so lonesome for the wine-dark sea, that one skull turned up in someone's crannóg hillfort in Navan. An archaeological mystery, or mishap by sea. Blame the Phoenicians. Quoph = monkey. That poor monkey must've froze his brass baa's off In Ireland, in winter, like that. Did they make him a little fur coat? Did he pick up Irish? Meanwhile the Irish scribes were busy inserting blank spaces between all the words. The Oirish also invented lower case letters and paragraphs too. Probably invented punctuation too. OTHERWISEWEDSTILLBEREADINGTEXTSLIKETHISNOWONDEREVERYBODYWASILLITERATETHETEXTSWERESHOUTING.

And what about Hannibal's elephants queueing up to cross the alps, did the Cisalpine Celts knit them tall sweaters amid the snow flurries? Ah, snow.

It all comes back to those white maidens of Delphi, the flurrying snow, Brennius's downfall, and CuChullainn, himself, fighting the waves with his sword, after he slew his only son in battle. Prophecy biting the ass it begets.

I don't think the Etruscans had any say in the matter. QV That's a bit of a red herring. There was no V yet. Blame the Phoenicians, maybe. All on the QT, of course. But they discovered all that tin at the end of the world, nuggets of tin in the riverbeds of Wales, to make faence and blue glass to ward off the evil eye. There was a great need to ward off the evil eye. So Q got around. Flip sides of the same coin, heads or tails?




¿Quien sabe? Because Q is the loneliest letter, and picked up a French tail to prove it. A geminid twinning, fraternal, I think. Because it had a bad gamma (cough, (kof), because it peed its pants in church and ran off with U. And U, a johnny-come-lately, raking the chaff from the straw, faw, that garden rake, ancestor to UVW and WHY? got around, begat almost as many children as Niall of the Nine Hostages (and none of them in the Irish alphabet, I might add). A deep thhroated sound: uvula vulvula. Yeah, when the soft c crept into church Latin, it was hell inna handbasket for those hard Cs expectorating on the church floors throughout the liturgy. Ask the cwen. Incanabula quern, quunt. The crack in the cosmic egg. Because gimel was once a camel, a ship of the desert, and kappa was the hollows of the hands, as if scooping water from the stream, and the poor monkeys of Gibralter were so lonesome for the wine-dark sea, that one skull turned up in someone's crannóg or hillfort in Navan. An archaeological mystery or mishap. quoph = monkey. That monkey must've froze his brass baa's off In Ireland in winter, like that. Did they make him a little fur coat? And what about Hannibal's elephants queueing up to cross the alps, did the Celts knit them tall sweaters amid the snow flurries? It all comes back to those white maidens of Delphi, the flurrying snow, and CuChullainn, himself, fighting the waves with his sword, after he slew his only son in battle. Prophecy biting the ass it begets. I don't think the Etruscans had any say in the matter. That's a bit of a red herring. Phoenicians, maybe. All that tin at the end of the world, nuggets in the riverbeds of Wales, to make faence and blue glass to ward off the evil eye. There are both sides of the coin, heads or tails?

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