British accent stereotypes - 'news'

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Fri Apr 4 22:18:27 UTC 2008

Doug Harris wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
> Subject:      Re: British accent stereotypes - 'news'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Wilson wrote:
> Which reminds me of the time that a Canadian friend had an epiphany when she
> realized that the Alphabet Song rhymes fully, if you use American "zee" and
> not Canadio-British "zed."
> ---------
> What's with that 'zed', anyway? I remember snickers from a newsagent when I
> said I was in search of an 'A To Z' (street map). He said, "You mean an
> 'A To Zed'.
> I've long wondered how the Brit-English alphabet can have a letter that is
> pronounced, and spelled, as a word.
> Anyone know why that is?

 From the Online Etymology Dictionary (note:
italics not preserved):
     c.1400, from M.Fr. zede, from L.L. zeta, from Gk. zeta, from Heb.
zayin, letter name, lit. "weapon;" so called in allusion to the shape of
this letter in ancient Hebrew. U.S. pronunciation zee is first attested
1677. Other dialectal names for the letter are izzard, ezod, uzzard and zod.

Dan Goodman
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