The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Q is the 17th letter of the Latin alphabet.

The Semitic sound value of Qp was /q/ (voiceless uvular plosive). In Greek this sign (called Qoppa in Greek) probably came to represent several labialized velar plosives, among them /k_w/ and /k_w_h/. These sounds changed to /p/ and /p_h/ respectively. Therefore, Qoppa was transformed into two letters: Qoppa, which stood for a number only, and Φι (Phi) which stood for the aspirated sound /p_h/ that came to be pronounced /f/ in Modern Greek. The Etruscans used Q only in conjunction with V, symbolizing thus a /k_w/. Some scholars claim that Q and Phi are unrelated.


In most modern languages, Q is rather superfluous; in Romance and Germanic languages it appears almost exclusively in the digraph QU. In English this digraph most often denotes the cluster /kw/, as it does in Italian (where [w] is an allophone of /u/); in German, /kv/; and in French, Spanish, and Catalan, /k/. (In Spanish and in French, "qu" replaces c for /k/ before the vowels i and e, since in those contexts c is a fricative.). In the Azeri, Uzbek, and Tatar languages, Q is pronounced the same as the Semitic sound /q/, and Q is often used to transliterate /q/ Semitic languages. In Maltese and Vro, Q denotes the glottal stop.

Quebec represents the letter Q in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Meanings for Q

See also

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