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The letter Q

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Alexander Howard
1294688.  Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:58 am Reply with quote

Q is a recent introduction into English orthography, but a very old letter.

In Old English, the sound 'w' was represented by 'cw', for example in common words like 'cwen' (queen), 'cwic' (alive), 'cweorn' (quern) and many more. 'Q' was known about as a letter; ∆lfric lists it as a consonant. There was just no need for it unless writing a Latin word.

The Normans introduced 'q' with enthusiasm, and not only for their own words, making us write 'quick' instead of 'cwic' as we should. The common Old English sound 'hw-' was written 'quh-' too, which did not catch on in England (we now write 'wh-') but did in Scotland, quhate'r ye think o' the leid.

Q is ancient though. It derives from the Greek qoppa (ϙ) which ceased to be used in the Classical period except as a numeral (which is why I keep an autocorrect on my computer to bring it up whenever I need it!) In turn it is from Phoenician, and found in Hebrew as qoph (ק), a very common letter in use. The original seems to be the Proto-Sinaitic 'qupu', adapted from an Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol.

Alexander Howard
1299229.  Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:16 am Reply with quote

After a silver jubilee (25 years), a golden jubilee (50 years) and even a platinum jubilee (70), then 90 could be qoppa.

That might need some explaining to those unfamiliar with Greek numerals.

1299293.  Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:21 pm Reply with quote

Apparently a ninetieth wedding anniversary is one's stone wedding, presumably because anyone who is married for ninety years must be a geological number of years old.

Only one stone wedding has ever been recorded, that of an Indian couple who moved to Bradford in the 60s. They celebrated their stone wedding anniversary on 11 Dec 2015, and the husband died on 27 Sep 2016 at the age of 110. So far as is known the wife is still alive, and is a couple weeks shy of turning 106.

Telegraph & Argus (Bradford)

No one is recorded as having ever celebrated a one hundredth wedding anniversary, or as ruling as a monarch for one hundred years. The latter will change, but I'll need to live to be 83 to see it.

1299368.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:46 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

No one is recorded as having ever celebrated a one hundredth wedding anniversary, or as ruling as a monarch for one hundred years. The latter will change, but I'll need to live to be 83 to see it.

You believe that the current Queen is going to live to be nearly 126?

1299412.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:48 am Reply with quote

It is my belief that Her Majesty is immortal, and no one can prove me wrong.

1299423.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:07 pm Reply with quote

The Queen can. Just not yet :-)

1299424.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:14 pm Reply with quote

It's a kind of magic...



1299433.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:25 pm Reply with quote


Points to AFB for a needless Mercury reference

1299437.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:30 pm Reply with quote

Queen + immortality is what exactly if not Conor McLeod of the clan of McLeod? Not pointless at all, that one!



1299445.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:20 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
It is my belief that Her Majesty is immortal, and no one can prove me wrong.

She's only doing it to spite Charles.

1299448.  Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:42 pm Reply with quote

Some years ago we daw Phil Jupitus on stage. He played a series of characters, and answered questions from the audience in character. One of them was a projection of himself from 30 or so years in the future. I asked if Charles ever got to be king, and the answer was that Queen was still on the throne, as she is an immortal vampire.
It was a very good show, and he greatly impressed me with his speed of thought.

1306779.  Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:24 am Reply with quote

Some Science q terms
In Chemistry and Atomic Physics history
The electron density as predicted by the Rutherford-bohrs model had a Q shell which is the 7th shell out from the nucleus. This web page gives a really nice explanation of the model.

Protein Science
In protein science the amino acids which are use to construct the proteins have been assigned both a three-letter code and a one letter code which are used to write out the protein sequences. The letter q is used for the amino acid glutamine which is the most abundant amino acid in human blood.
The letters are used to describe the primary structure of proteins.

In protein science there are four levels of protein structure: Primary, secondary, tertiary and quarternary. The best analogy that I can think of to explain this is baking a cake.
Primary structure.
This is the order that the amino acids are joined together in and is written like:
A-G-Q-R-K or using the three letter code Ala-Gly-Gln- Arg-Lys
This is like cake batter it has all the components to make your cake but no shape information which comes from the pouring into the cake tin and baking.

Secondary structure
This gives you structural shape information such as beta sheet or alpha helix but you donít know anything about the 3d shape of the protein.
In cake analogy you have a bowl with icing and two sponges on a cooling rack you know the shapes of the sponges but havenít yet put them together to give your cake its 3d shape.

Tertiary Structure
This is the 3d shape of the protein so you know where the beta sheet is located relative to the alpha helixes e.g. beta sheet is on the left and alpha helix on the right of the protein.
In cake analogy: this is your assembled sponge cake with on layer of sponge on top of the other sponge with icing in the middle and over the outside of the cake.

Quaternary structure
This is a protein which is made up of more than one protein strand (peptide), haemoglobin is a good example of this as it has four protein strands two alpha peptides and two beta peptides.
In the cake analogy: A wedding cake which is made up of more than one cake tier which can be either all fruit cakes or could be two fruit cake and two sponge cakes to be like haemoglobin.
This website has a good explanation with images.

1306803.  Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:42 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
It is my belief that Her Majesty is immortal, and no one can prove me wrong.

It occurs to me that a Republican with a sniper rifle could.

Simon C
1314596.  Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:21 am Reply with quote

The writer and academic, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, wrote much under the pseudonym 'Q' though I'm not sure whether it was initially adopted as a 'disguise'. In his later life the identity of 'Q' was certainly not a secret.

For example, in the lead-up to Christmas 1937, The Times newspaper (22 Dec 1937) promoted a story by 'Q' which they would be publishing on Christmas Eve. The blurb following the headline noted that it had been written by Sir Arthur.

And of course the nom-de-plume was reported in various obituaries (e.g. The Times's on 13 May 1944).

1328224.  Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:21 am Reply with quote

The letter q is used to represent how popular someone or something is in a Q-rating or Q-score


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