What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

12 April 2012

K is for Knife?

Another guest blogger, because I'm writing a 20-page paper this week and am hysterically grateful to the people who agreed to tag in for me. Today's post is brought to you by Sparquay, a fellow member of our group who went to Scotland in 1998. He met his wife while we were over there, and the two of them now live in England with their adorable son. Sparquay occasionally blogs, but mostly just says amusing things on Facebook.

I was given K. If you read the title and are drawn by the topic of sharp things, I’m sorry... but you will be disappointed. This is an attempt by someone who has no linguistics education to post something linguistically related on someone’s blog who is about to receive a bachelor’s degree with a minor in linguisticky things. (Oh, and I’m apt to make up my own words [and I love to make parenthetical statements, too*.])

Instead of shiny sharp subjects, I’d like to talk about the letter ‘K’. It really is an odd letter when you think about it.

C vs. K
If the alphabet were a place of employment, and I were in charge of eliminating a few of the letters (to make a more economical keyboard, dictionary, etc), ‘K’ would definitely have a lot to prove to keep its job, when considering its performance in the workplace. We’ve already got ‘C’ and it seems to be doing quite well. It even picks up some of ‘S’s tasks. ‘K’ seems to shadow ‘C’ around. It’s slacking.

We aren't really sure what's happening
in this pic, although it appears to be
Adam and Eve getting kozy with a K.
I dabble in a bit of graphic design. ‘K’ redeems itself in the area of beauty. It’s one of the areas of typography where an artist can really strut their skills with this fun letter.

K is Kool
I’m not sure how ‘K’ sneaks into other words where it doesn’t belong, though. How did it become prominent in replacing the letter ‘C’? Take for example the place that serves lovely warm donuts... Krispy Kremes. What was the motivation of this company to replace ‘C’ with ‘K’... twice? Are ‘K’s really that much more exciting?
We could also gate crash CheekySu’s theme of names: Katherine, Karl, Kris... it seems you just replace ‘C’ for a ‘K’ and you get a unique name that will have everyone questioning the spelling, because of unconventional parents.

Silent K
How does ‘K’, which seems to stick both arms out for attention like a ADD kid, become silent? Knight, knowledge, knock... I tried Googling™ the term “Silent K”, and only came up with the answer that it comes from some old English which carried over from borrowed Germanic words that we never gave back and kept the pointless ‘K’. Apparently, it was originally pronounced as a voiceless velar plosive (not sure how you achieve such a oral sound), but was dropped like vowels in a teenage text message. You’re all lazy for not pronouncing the ‘K’, young people born after the 1400s with no respect for preserving the beauty of language.

In Konklusion
I’d like to hear what you have to say about ‘K’ in the Komments.
*- and a footnote just for fun.


sparquay said...

First! Is that allowed if I'm the author of the post?

Thanks for choosing a PG caption for my questionable image provided, Su.

deathwriter said...

As someone with a two K last name, I like the letter K. I have a silent and a not so silent K in my name and I've had only one person in my life pronounce it correctly.
Just popping in from the A to Z.

Anonymous said...

It does have its place though in those words where "C" on its own is just not enough ie..check, flack, smack....that little extra "K" to give it some KICK! Fun post.

Kittie Howard said...

What a fun post - with a lot of cool stuff I devoured. I taught English as a Second Language for a bit so know K drives students nuts, as do the silent P and a few other English quirks. BTW, enjoyed your sense of humor. Congrats to Cheekyness on that upkoming diploma.

Patricia Stoltey said...

K is Kool!

Patricia Stoltey

Susan Kane said...

My last name is also with a K, and there was a temptation to use K for our Kids names. But knowing what hell they would get at school, we kicked that idea out.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Su .. glad it's not K for Kathy .. but actually it's Sparquay not Sparky who wrote the post for you ..!!

Love the linguistic links .. I had a Knepp castle!? I wonder how much texting etc will alter our language over time ..

Interesting and love the other posts on origins of names .. cheers Hilary