Talk:Q

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Why not leave the explications of the Q as symbol here? A disambiguation page is for something else. -- User:Docu

I suggest we keep the disambiguation page, but also include the various uses of the letter here, consistent with the other letters. Afterall, the disambiguation page isn't really necessarily ment to be read. -- User:Docu

Does anyone know why Q is always followed by U? Whose idea was it?

Seriously, what's up with that?Cameron Nedland 01:27, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

The Romans came up with that one ni ez naiz aldatuko 01:48, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
And it is not always followed by U, see Iraq, Iraqi (i.e. Arabic place names [etc.] may retain Q from Latin transliteration to English spelling.) ni ez naiz aldatuko 01:54, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I believe the Romans actually put a V after the Q, arguably representing the union of male and female pudenda (see also quim). Clearly I wasn't sufficiently close by to speak with any authority on this point, and an hypothesis involving some Egyptianesque or post-Egyptian god and his/her concomitant worship is equally irresistible (see Qaw or qoph? below). Perhaps they were put together because, if left to nature, they were found to keep avoiding each other's company (as in Iraq and Al Qaeda).
V was the Roman for both "u" and "v". "Qu" combo was taken from the French language, and was actually written as "cw" in Anglo-Saxon English, before the langauage was influenced by French. As a side note, I personally think English should scrap the letter Q, and its "qu" combination, all together. We have a prefectly adequate C that we can use. Queen - Cween, Quick - Cwick. Looks a lot better to me, looks more English to me! SKC

"Spelling" of Q[edit]

Its name in English is cue, occasionally spelled cu.

WHAT? I have never experienced this in my life, as a native English speaker and self-proclaimed "Count of Correctness Affairs™". But seriously, this is not even in my dictionary. I would never recognize "cue" to mean the letter Q, I would think it meant a pool cue, or that it was a misspelling of queue. And "cu" ? I have nothing more to say about this, I think this needs a citation.ni ez naiz aldatuko 01:52, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I have found the meaning of "cue" as the letter q in several dictionaries, so I presume it is correct. Of course, the spelling of the letter using the word for the letter is so rare that people don't always recognize it. I am doubtful of the spelling "cu" however; I could not find this in any dictionary I have (and it's not even in the Scrabble word list!) SCHZMO 02:10, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

"cue" is unambiguously pronounced /kju/, the same as the name of Q. That's the standard spelling I've always seen (in Washington/California). "cu" looks like /ku/ to me, and I have never seen it in reference to Q. British/American dialects also come into play, in that words like "coupon" that are pronounced /kju/ in Britian are pronounced /ku/ in America. So perhaps "cu" is recognizable to those who say /kjupan/. Notice "barbecue" <-> "bar-b-q". But the recognition is mainly one-way. Just the word "cue" alone would not necessarily connote Q unless the context was letters. Sluggoster (talk) 21:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

The OED goes into detail about the various spellings: "cu", "q", "qu", "que", "kue", "kewe", and "cue". All except "cue" are long obsolete, and I'll change the article to reflect that. --Milkbreath (talk) 12:05, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Sluggoster, "cue" pronounced phonetically would be "kweh". Still, I'll accept that's how Q is spelt. Mnealon (talk) 13:36, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Concerning the pronunciation of q and the spelling of the word queue[edit]

I find it very disturbing that many English speakers believe the 'regular' pronunciation of the letter q is [kw]. Could anyone enlighten me as to how anyone can make stupid assumptions like that.

Also, I find the fact that, the word queue [kju:] is spelt so, very odd. How could it have ever come about? I know that the vowel shifts (particularly the GVS) wrecked the English language but I didn't realise that they did that much damage.

The reason that it is considered the "regular" pronounciation is because that is how it is pronounced in English - in the same way that a speaker of Maltese would consider the "regular" pronounciation of the letter "q" to be [ʔ] (a glottal stop). I don't think it's stupid, just naive. Mo-Al 01:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, [kw] is the regular pronunciation of the digraph qu, not of the letter q, even in English. In no language that I have heard of is q by itself pronounced [kw]. --platypeanArchcow 01:49, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

"queue" is a French loan word, meaning "tail".

and the French spelling is parsed like so: qu-eu-e = /k/-/ø/-(silent). In English, the /ø/ became assimilated as /ju/. --platypeanArchcow 01:46, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

It's not "stupid". It's just the fact that kids are taught that Q occurs only before U and is pronounced /kw/. This is true for all Anglo-Saxon words, which are the most-used words in the language. The exceptions come from French, Spanish, or languages with non-Latin alphabets (Arabic, Chinese). People are so used to saying /kw/ that they unconsciously say it before unfamiliar words containing Q + vowel, or /kwə/ before Q + consonant. Sluggoster (talk) 21:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

You won't find Q not followed by U in Spanish. --LjL (talk) 20:20, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Not prononuced /kw/ though. Sluggoster (talk) 21:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

The Slash of the Q[edit]

Could someone tell me the name of the slash of the upper case "Q" ? 65.190.135.130 01:14, 1 August 2006 (UTC)Maria

Not with ultimate authority, but in view of my recent 'qoph' point below [1], 'tail' springs inevitably to mind, does it not? As do 'ray,' 'light,' 'heat,' 'energy,' 'love,' 'praise/prayer/worship,' and 'neck' in the circumstances(?). Does anyone else concern themselves with such details? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 212.100.250.216 (talk) 15:32, 5 February 2007 (UTC).
Henry. --194.98.58.121 (talk) 12:56, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Scottish surnames?[edit]

Where does the "qu" come from in names like "Farquhar" and "Colquhoun"? --platypeanArchcow 01:43, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

A Normanesque anglicisation of the original Gaelic, e.g., Farrcar. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 212.100.250.215 (talk) 23:51, 6 February 2007 (UTC).

Sign Language[edit]

I think that we should put in a picture of the letter Q in Sign Language, does anybdoy agree with me?--67.174.128.249

That suggestion seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
HAHA!!! ↑ That is funny as ya like!!! HAHA!!! Nice one. SKC
I think it's been done now. Keith Galveston (talk) 00:09, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Qaw or qoph?[edit]

According to Roy Feinson ('The Secret Universe of Names'), 'In the Semitic languages, the letter Q is called qoph (monkey).' Also, I can find no support for the 'qaw (cord of wool)' hypothesis in the Egyptian hieroglyphs entry, which rather seems to link Q, if anything, to the sun and q to 'god.'

Meanwhile, a connection to Latin caput, 'head,' seems irresistible(?). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 212.100.250.216 (talk) 15:26, 5 February 2007 (UTC).

The Egyptians had represented the sound /q/ with
N29
but the Semites chose an entirely different glyph to represent this same sound, and it is conjectured by those who have studied Middle Bronze Age alphabets that the hieroglyph that became q was
V24
(cord) or something similar, and was chosen because of a Semitic word for cord that started with this sound, qaw. Of course, the name has become Qoph or something similar in the modern Semitic languages. Anyway, we have to stick to sources and not engage in our own speculations here. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 16:24, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Without wishing to 'engage in our own speculations here,' a blind participant can see that altho 'the Semites chose an entirely different glyph to represent this same sound,' the glyphs they used distinctly resembled distinctly different Egyptian hieroglyphs, as one might perhaps expect given the difference of language; namely,
ra
Z1
'sun' and
nTr Z1
'god.' —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 212.100.250.216 (talk) 16:39, 5 February 2007 (UTC).

I don't have it infront of me but my recollection is that teh random house dictionary's history of the letter Q at the beginning fo that section, traced it to the eqyptian for monkey. Though my personal intrest lies only in continuing to share the triviq that teh letter Q is an image of a monkey's ass.

Why it is rare[edit]

Yes, Q is a rare letter, but I don't think you can say it is rare just because it needs to go with a u most of the time. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 24.75.180.31 (talk) 17:31, 10 February 2007 (UTC).

The letter "Q" is indeed, quite rare. In fact, it only comes up (on a Q search in Google.com) only 993,000,000 times. One more thing, the online community seems to be starting to incorporate the letter Q into their vocabulary. (I hope I don't get bashed for entering this in...) There are such diverse words like "Fuq", "Qrap", and any others that use a 'K--' sound. Most of these are to prevent themselves of getting booted/banned from servers during online video games that use an automated language service. (First, you get warned. Then, you get booted. Finally, you use the alphabet in ways it probably shouldn't be used...) Oneevilchef 19:35, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

It's rare because it occurs less commonly in English text than any letter except Z. That's why it's placed in the far corner of the keyboard. The U requirement is a large part of that, plus the fact that C and K are the preferred forms for /k/, and there's no other need for Q. Sluggoster (talk) 21:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Q in Chinese words[edit]

In Pinyin, why does "Q" make a ch sound? This violates the English language, for "Q" is supposed to make a k sound. Would it not be more correct to spell "Qin" as "Chin"?--71.108.53.234 23:54, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't violate the English language, because it is not. It is romanized Mandarin. Different languages use the same letter to represent different sound, just as why French use "ch" to represent [ʃ] rather than [tʃ] as in English. In Albanian, it represents the voiceless palatal plosive, which I guess would sound pretty much alike to "ch" in English. And also, Mandarin "q" is not identical to English "ch", and pinyin already has a "ch", which stands for the retroflex sound.
In my personal opinion, I'd agree it is unfortunate that they should choose such a counterintuitive spelling convention: in most other writing/transliteration systems "q" represents a velar or uvular sound. If I were to create a romanization system I would'nt use that symbol at all. Still, it hard to say if one romanization system is "more correct" than the other: the present system has the advantage of clearly distinguishing all the consonants. This is how I understand this matter. For more information, you can check out the article pinyin. Keith Galveston (talk) 00:08, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


The Chinese government chose it. It also commandeered C, J, R, X, Z, and ZH for sounds different than the usual Latin assignments. The problem is that English speakers don't know what these rules are or even that they exist. We assume they're pronounced in the normal Latin manner because that's what transliterations are supposed to be. We're use to CH as /ʃ/ in Chicago. The Vietnamese alphabet is based on Portuguese, so Thu and Ghi and Ng do what you expect. We can't do Vietnamese tone diatrics, but our intuitive pronunciation is in the ballpark. Pinyin violated these conventions in order to stick to English letters which are universal on keyboards and fonts. I don't see why English can't respell these words to match our conventions. Turkish and Hungarian have native Latin alphabets so there's a reason to stick to their spelling, plus their assignments are close to the Latin standards. Pinyin is not the everyday Chinese alphabet, and the Pinyin assignments violate both Latin conventions and linguists' usage (which gave us Q in Tariq). So I don't see why we can't respell assimilated Chinese words like we do for Russian. Sluggoster (talk) 21:03, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

It was necessary to have these irregularities in Pinyin. In Chinese there are more consonant sounds than there are in most other languages. There is a whole spectrum of sounds from j-ch-ts that simply don't fit in a Latin alphabet. Q sounds like ch to non Chinese speakers but to Chinese speakers they are distinct consonants. Zh and j sound similar too but are distinct. As with x and sh or z and c. Mnealon (talk) 13:51, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

What was wrong with my edit?[edit]

Not everyone can read pronouncion accents. It's no trouble at all, I just am curious about what's wrong with my previous edit. 82.148.70.2 (talk) 12:26, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I nominate the letter Q for speedy deletion[edit]

Most useless letter ever. Alloverme (talk) 09:10, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

You cannot nominate the letter Q for speedy deletion because it is one of the letters of the alphabet and it is very important. CPGirlAJ (talk) 19:52, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
And you are hereby banished forever from the Q-Continuum" 173.209.109.16 (talk) 06:39, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Possible Vandalism in History?[edit]

I don't know what to make of this: It was Q that created the world. His single mind is what binds everything in the world together (similar to the Jedi religeon, two branches of the same tree) Shan't we delete this?

But I like the idea that the Star Trek "Q" (where this might come from) is responsible for a "vandalism in history" : ) --Dtschenz (talk) 18:09, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Explanation of Pinyin Pronunciation[edit]

In Chinese Hanyu Pinyin, 'q' is used to represent the sound [tɕʰ], which is close to English 'ch' in "cheese",
but pronounced further toward the front of the mouth.

Isn't [tɕʰ] alveolo-palatal? The article on alveolo-palatal consonants describe them as palatalized palato-alveolars, and English 'ch' or [tʃʰ] is a palato-alveolar. Palatalizing it would make it go further back in the mouth, wouldn't it? 76.18.160.47 (talk) 20:00, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Your tongue should almost touch the back of your front teeth for q. It's a lighter ch sound, like a cross between tsh and ch. For ch your tongue should be further back like in "church". Mnealon (talk) 13:56, 18 August 2013 (UTC)