Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Letter W...

Interesting. I cannot imagine what would have to take place to add a new letter to the American-English alphabet. I cannot even imagine it happening. (I called it the American-English alphabet because the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists and adds all kinds of U’s where they don’t belong and so on…)

But the Swedish have gone and done just that. They added “W”. I cannot imagine someone changing the alphabet. Imagine the work that goes on behind that.
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32 Comments:

Blogger Dougie McGibbon said....

"because the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists and adds all kinds of U’s where they don’t belong and so on…"

If you think that's bad, consider Scots Gaelic - spoken in the far North West of Britain. It has no J, K, V, W, X, Y or Z - and H is mostly silent.
Look at the Wikipedia intro page in Scots Gaelic

Sun Apr 23, 05:07:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Roderick said....

I wonder if some software will have to be patched to accomodate new NLS sort behavior.

Sun Apr 23, 05:09:00 PM EDT  

Blogger El Presidente said....

Actually, English pays a lot of attention to the fact the letter Z exists. Why, there's even a whole chunk of the dictionary devoted to words beginning with it.

Admittedly we've shoved it in the back, but you can't have everything :)

Sun Apr 23, 06:09:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous SwitchBL8 said....

In fact, English does not have a real W as well. It's a double-U. Not much different from a double-V in Swedish.

Sun Apr 23, 06:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Niall said....

the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists

ZZzzz..

Mon Apr 24, 01:32:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

We have many people unemployed, perhaps an action to make sure they have something to do?
Now I know what the goverment meant then they said they had plans to create more jobs...

Mon Apr 24, 03:50:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Robert said....

(I called it the American-English alphabet because the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists and adds all kinds of U’s where they don’t belong and so on…)

Or in otherwards, Americans just don't know how to spell?

Mon Apr 24, 04:05:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Robbert said....

Makes you wonder how they browsed the internet.
VVVVVV.something.se/or_something?

Mon Apr 24, 04:34:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Robert said....

spoken in the far North West of Britain
or Scotland as it is otherwise known! Although it is true the majority of Gaelic speakers are on the North West, it is not limited to there and only there.

Mon Apr 24, 04:36:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Michael Hinds said....

Actually UK English does use 'Z', but it is restricted by law to the words Zebra, Zimbabwe and of course for Sir Clive Sinclair's product range.

Mon Apr 24, 06:13:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Simo said....

Well the swedes don't have problem with W on databases but lets add ä to US7ASCII =)

Mon Apr 24, 07:55:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous orafad said....

The "place" of letter W changed in the 13th edition of SAOL (first came in end of 19th century). Just because SAOL (a book, a dictionary, no more no less?) changed sorting order, "we" did not suddenly get a new letter to the alphabet. There's the Sweriges Rikes Lag ("the Law" if you will), from early 18th century. And I'm pretty sure the letter was taught in schools 26 years ago.

Greetings from the province Wärmland, in the heart of Swerige :)

Mon Apr 24, 08:08:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Kurtz said....

Lets face it, you are just 200+ years behind the times. Mostly, the Z's all come from Old English. Often the Z is an alternate spelling to S, and in American S is an alternative to Z. The word Optimise is a good example of this.

Mon Apr 24, 09:07:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Oh, those kooky Swedes!

Mon Apr 24, 09:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger APC said....

>> the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists

So we English may not use Z as often as you Yanks but at least we know how to pronounce it properly. 'Nuff zed.

Mon Apr 24, 10:33:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

www.teach12.com

This is a terrific company. They have a lecture series on the history of the English language. I haven't used that one yet. The Fairfax, VA county library has virtually all of these. I would assume Loudoun, VA library has them also. You may want to check out the English language one. If it's any good, please post it.

So far I have watched/listened to several of them and they have all been very good. BTW, I don't work for them. Note that I am saying you can get them for free from the public library so I am not directing people to buy them. They are pretty expensive.

Ryan

Mon Apr 24, 11:04:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Mark J. Bobak said....

Hey Tom,

They know about Z, but don't forget, they call it "Zed". ;-)

-Mark

Mon Apr 24, 11:47:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Danny R said....

Can you give an example of 'U's that do not belong? As you generally provide examples when proving or disproving a statement regarding the database!

Mon Apr 24, 11:48:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Markku Uttula said....

Yes. If anyone vould use the alphabet like Americans, the vorld vould be a better place. Or at least many difficulties faced by us developers vould be unnoticeable.

Hmm... I think I missed something in there...

Mon Apr 24, 11:48:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Can you give an example of 'U's that do not belong?

Their behaviour regarding colours would be two examples :)

Mon Apr 24, 01:31:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

Apparantly, Z is the least common letter by word-usage, but J and Q are less common in terms of occurance in the dictionary ...

http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutwords/frequency?view=uk

Mon Apr 24, 05:58:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Robbert said....

Regarding the S and the Z, I often ran into trouble when part of my script would try to analyse a table.

dbms_stats proved a big help there.

But seriously, to this (non-native english speaking) person, american englisg is just weaird.

b.t.w. in Dutch it's pronounced "Zet", in German "Zed", Ik have no clue how you would want to pronounce it differently.

Mon Apr 24, 06:40:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Their behaviour regarding colours would be two examples

Looks like they belong to me! :-)

Tue Apr 25, 03:54:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

When will "ÅÄÖ" be added to the english alphabet so Koenigsegg can use the name KÖnigsegg?

http://www.dumpalink.com/media/1143290944/Top_Gear_Koenigsegg

Tue Apr 25, 08:35:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Cameron said....

Sweden is also the country that has changed their traffic laws several times:

1718 - 1734 Right-hand traffic
1734 - 1963 Left-hand traffic (with left-hand drive!)
1963 - Present Right-hand traffic (still with left-hand drive)

Can you imagine the infrastructure and signage changes necessary to facilitate such a change today?

Tue Apr 25, 09:55:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Markku Uttula said....

I recall they made a gradual shift to RH-traffic in 1963. During the first week, the trucks, buses and other large vehicles started using RHT and during the next week cars and other smaller vehicles (in case there were any left at that point).

Tue Apr 25, 03:10:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Holger Schweichler said....

<< because the UK-English one doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that the letter Z exists and adds all kinds of U’s where they don’t belong and so on… >>

Oh oh... this reminds me a bit of my very first trip to the US when everybody (and I mean everybody) I talked to at the office told me "Hey - you have a funny accent!" when all I did was just talking plain Oxford English. It always depends on the point of view ;-)

Tue Apr 25, 04:32:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dawn said....

Tom,

You complain that we English stick "extra" u's in some of our words?

Maybe if you guys did the same, there wouldn't be all those spare u's that end up appearing on your AskTom site, annoying you so much... U no the 1's i mean!

Tue Apr 25, 07:35:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Well, I say Americans (I am a yank) would be well served to drop "W" from our everyday life... Oh, wait, that's more of a political benefit instead of a lexical one.

:)

Thu Apr 27, 02:16:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Hmmm...I think someone has missed their facts, because Swedish uses the same alphabet that English does, just plus 3 letters (å ä ö). It's funny because my friend mentioned this to me, but I spent a year in Sweden and knew that they had W but I still googled it and this is what poped up. The Swedes have a very hard time with our V sound and call MTV, "M T Wee" and they actually even call BMW the company BMV...all very strange.

Thu Apr 27, 09:21:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Nicola said....

Hi Tom,
As an english-not-so-clever-student I am curious: what do you mean ?
British speakers don't use Z properly ??
Bye

Sun Apr 30, 12:26:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

British speakers don't use Z properly ??

British English differs from American English in the spelling of many words

American British
analyze analyse
realize realise

for example....

Sun Apr 30, 01:50:00 PM EDT  

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