K is the eleventh letter of the modern
Latin alphabet. Its name in English is spelled "kay" (pronEng|keɪ). ["K" "Oxford English Dictionary," 2nd edition (1989); "Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged" (1993); "kay," op. cit.]
History and usage
The letter K comes from the Greek Κ (
kappa), which was taken from the Semitickap, the symbol for an open hand."K". "The Oxford English Dictionary", 2nd ed., 1989, online [http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50124982?query_type=word&queryword=k&first=1&max_to_show=10&sort_type=alpha&result_place=1&search_id=h5Sx-nTaC9b-24269&hilite=50124982] ] This in turn was likely adapted by Semites who had lived in Egypt from the hieroglyph for "hand" representing D in the Egyptian word for hand, "d-r-t". The Semites evidently assigned it the sound value IPA|/k/ instead, because their word for hand started with that sound. [Cyrus H. Gordon: " [http://www.jstor.org/pss/543451 The Accidental Invention of the Phonemic Alphabet] "]
The Semitic value of IPA|/k/ was maintained in most classical as well as modern languages, although Latin abandoned the use of K almost completely, preferring
C. When Greek words were taken into Latin, the Kappa was converted to C, with a few exceptions such as the term "kalendae" ( calends) and the praenomen" Kaeso". Some words from other alphabets were also transliterated into C. Therefore, the Romance languageshave K only in words from still other language groups. The Celtic languagesalso chose C over K, and this influence carried over into Old English. Today, English is the only Germanic languageto productively use hard C in addition to K (although Dutch uses it in learned words of Latin origin and follows the same "hard / soft" distinction in such words as does French and English -- but not in native words).
Some English linguists prefer to reverse the Latin transliteration process for proper names in Greek, spelling "
Hecate" as "Hekate", for example. And the writing down of languages that don't have their own alphabet with the Latin one has resulted in a standardization of the letter for this sound, as in "Kwakiutl."
International Phonetic Alphabet, [k] is the symbol for the voiceless velar plosive.
Several other alphabets also use characters with sharp angles to indicate the sound IPA|/k/ or syllables that start with a IPA|/k/, for example: Arabic ك, Hebrew כ (in some fonts), Korean ㄱ. This kind of phonetic-visual association was studied by
Wolfgang Köhler. However, there are also many examples of rounded letters for IPA|/k/, like ค in Thai and Ք in Armenian.
Codes for computing
Unicodethe capital K is codepoint U+004B and the lower casek is U+006B.
ASCIIcode for capital K is 75 and for lowercase k is 107; or in binary 01001011 and 01101011, correspondingly.
EBCDICcode for capital K is 210, and for lowercase k, 146.
numeric character references in HTMLand XMLare "&#75;" and "&#107;" for upper and lower case respectively.
*К, к - Ka (Cyrillic)
*Κ, κ or ϰ - Kappa (Greek)
af:K als:K ar:K arc:K ast:K az:K bs:K ca:K cs:K co:K cy:K da:K de:K el:K es:K eo:K eu:K fa:K fur:K gan:K gd:K gl:K ko:K hr:K ilo:K is:K it:K he:K ka:K kw:K sw:K ht:K la:K lv:K lt:K hu:K mzn:K ms:K nah:K ja:K no:K nrm:K pl:K pt:K ro:K qu:K se:K simple:K sk:K sl:K fi:K sv:K tl:K th:K vi:K vo:K yo:K zh-yue:K bat-smg:K zh:K
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