Z or z [ tsɛt ] is the 26th and last letter of the Latin alphabet and a consonant. The letter Z in German texts an average frequency of 1.13 %. He is the 20 most frequent letter in German texts.

  • 2.1 Comparison with other European languages


Phoenician Zajin

Greek zeta

Etruscan Z

Latin Z

The origin of the letter in the proto- Semitic alphabet is the symbol Ze, which symbolizes a stabbing weapon. In the Phoenician alphabet, the letter has been amended slightly and got the name Zajin ( Zayin ), the dagger or weapon means. The phonetic value of the letter in the Phoenician alphabet was the voiced S [ z]. When the Phoenicians was the Zajin at the seventh place of the alphabet.

The letter was adopted as Zeta In the Greek alphabet, was the Zeta for the phonetic value of [z ] and the affricate [ dz ] among the Greeks. In different dialects, the zeta was also pronounced as voiced or voiceless dental fricative [ ð ] or [ θ ] ( as English th: thin [ θɪn ], "thin", this [ ðɪs ], "this" ). At the beginning of the Zeta had the similar shape of the I Zajin, to the classical period of the longitudinal beams tilted to the right, however, probably because it was to write more quickly, possibly because of the similarity to the iota.

The Etruscans took over the Zeta in the I -like shape in their alphabet. Since the Etruscan however knew no voiced plosives, was prepared from [ dz ] a [ ts ]. This letter was also adopted by the Romans. However, the affricate [ ts ] was not present in Latin and so BC was the I-shaped Z replaced by the newly created (from the letter C ) G with the phonetic value of [g ] in the alphabet in the 5th century.

The Greek Zeta was recorded in the first century by the Romans along with the Ypsilon in the Latin alphabet, in order to reproduce the Greek words and proper names correctly. Therefore, their place at the end of the alphabet. Marcian Capella reported the revolutionary statesman Appius Claudius Caecus had rejected the Z: "Z idcirco Appius Claudius finished stature, quod dentes mortui, dum exprimitur, imitatur. " The wide open mouth of the dead corresponds to the position of the teeth when pronouncing the Z order in the picture to stay: It starts life with the wondering "A" and ends with the "Z". A to Z.

The Z with bottom loop

The lower case letter "z " as it is taught as a Simplified font output in primary schools.

The lower case letter "z" in a roman font.

A graphical variant is the "Z with sub- loop " or " tailed Z ", which appears following the broken scripts (such as fracture) in Latin scripts. In some roman typefaces, this variant is a single letter " ʒ " and ligatures (eg " sʒ " to " ß" ) to be found.

An older version of the graph Z with bottom loop is the Latin letter Ezh ( ʒ ), as used in the International Phonetic Alphabet as a symbol for the voiced postalveolar fricative.

Another variant is the graphical ȥ (Z hook ), a grapheme which is used in the standard transcription of the Middle High German, Middle High German for the coronal fricative, designated in contrast to the Z ( Z without hooks) affricate.

Development of the German z

Until the Middle High German time you wrote those sound that was incurred in the second sound shift from short t, with z and zz: Middle High German daz, ez, ezzen as opposed to Low German dat, et, eten. This sound was probably pronounced as a voiceless alveolar fricative [s ] as our present voiceless s and remained for a long time from the old Germanic s different, which was pronounced as a voiceless fricative alveolopalataler [ ɕ ]. Early on, they began to write instead of zz sz also to make it easier to distinguish from tz. Thus, the German ß arose. In the twelfth century was the z / zz -sound with the old s / ss sound together. The result was that soon the two spellings were messed up and finally after many centuries, the present-day distribution of the letter ß, ss, s was formed.

Long tt and t at the word or syllable beginning were, however, a ts- sound, the [ ts ] in the phonetic alphabet, which is up today so pronounced, for example, in number, in contrast to sit down German Tahl, immoral.

Comparison with other European languages

In many languages, different pronunciation of "z" from the German Zett and corresponds to the voiced S, which is represented in the IPA phonetic transcription as [z ]. Some examples are English zoo, zero or French zéro, Émile Zola, and for the Greek see the examples in Zeta.