Why do we need the letter K?

Actually, I was going to ask why we need the letter “C” when “S” and “K” do the same jobs, but I guess “K” was the more recent addition to the alphabet. Even so, it seems we could do without one or the other - or else make “C” stand for the “ch” sound or something. I mean, if it was spelled it “stic” or “stik” instead of “stick”, would there really be that much confusion as to how it should be pronounced? Obviously, my example leaves out numerous subtleties, but still, it seems to me “K” is basically redundant. There must be some relatively logical reason for its inclusion in the alphabet. Any ideas?

X and Q are also redundant.

As far as I know, there’s no reason for such redundancies.

It’s just the way it is.

X I can understand because at least it simplifies things - instead of “cks” or merely “cs” or “ks”, you’ve got one letter to do the same job. Q’s a bit more problematic, but it feels more correct and nuanced than using a “cu” or “ku” (or “kw”, etc.), though that’s probably just because I’ve been conditioned to think so. The C/K thing seems less necessary, somehow.

Never underestimate the power of the KKK members of the alphabet cabal, and everybody hates getting new business cards.

Why do you think there’s a logical reason for any letter being in the alphabet? :dubious:

Because if there isn’t…it’ll be anarchy! Cats and dogs, living together!..

It’s because of that stupid song.

The English alphabet is a set of loosely affiliated glyphs that tend to congregate in the same messages. If you don’t like the letter “K”, don’t use it. Maybe you can even keep using dictionary words from a real dictionary and still be O…CAY? If you propose to eliminate it I would say you’d have to somehow force a good majority of english speakers to not use it. I’m not giving up “K” without a fight.

Hey, you self centered English speakers! We in the Netherlands DO use the K daily, thank youverymuch! What do you want, your own alphabet?

Couldn’t spell my name without it!

Seriously though, English spelling is so fucked up because it steals words from all over the place, along with their original spellings, which until relatively recently weren’t set in stone anyway. Over time the pronunciation mutates, and then the spelling mutates, and then you get the mess we have today.

“Fuc” just doesn’t have the same ring.

Sit down or I’ll tell woodstockbirdybird about *lange ij * and he’ll be on your ass too! :wink:

Mark Twain had some ideas regarding this topic:


Thank you. Before now I had no idea that Mark and Shania Twain were unrelated.


And think of the poor club kids, or klub cids, or something.

This is not not the first time I’ve heard people say there were too many letters in our language. What is the origin of this weird complaint? Flashbacks of how hard it was for you to learn the alphabet as a kid? :smiley:

Me neither

And we don’t steal words, we borrow them, permanently

English borrows much of its vocabulary from other languages. Many times the spelling is kept intact. This half applies to words like facade, which requires a çedille in its native tongue. Anyway, the only reason is that orthography doesn’t necessarily match pronunciation. Many say we don’t need such and such letter, but without the bizarre practice, we’d have another host of homographs to confuse us, imported from homophones like site, sight & cite.

French doesn’t ‘need’ a K either. If you look in the K section of a French dictionary, it’s the shortest, like our Q or X section, because most French words with a K in them are foreign in origin. The French spell our ‘k’ sound with a ‘qu.’

I think one of the dopers had a paraphrase of this as a sig.

We’ve only got ~42 phonemes in English, so it seems to me we could get rid of most of our letters if we used them more efficiently. For example, we could assign each sound a number and thereby write with just 10 symbols.