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THE LETTER U - The twenty-first letter of the English alphabet. It is a modification made in manuscript writing of the Latin inscriptional V, and is itself found on the inscriptions of Rome as early as the latter part of the 2nd century A.D. The symbols U, V, Y are all of the same origin, but what the origin is has been much disputed. In the Phoenician alphabet T is the last symbol, but there can be little doubt that when the Greeks introduced symbols for vowels, which had not been indicated in the alphabet they had borrowed, they took the sixth symbol of the Phoenician alphabet (see F) in its ordinary form Y and placed it at the end of the alphabet with the value of a vowel. This vowel was apparently u (English oo in moon), though Ionic and Attic Greek at a very early period changed it to the sound of the French u. In other dialects the earlier value long persisted, and in modern Tzakonian, the representative of the ancient Laconian, it still survives. In some places, e.g. Boeotia, the sound seems to have changed, in connexion with dental consonants, in the same way as the English sound, in certain cases i (y) being inserted in front of it. This seems to be the only feasible explanation of such spellings as TIOVXO. (ruxrj), TToXiou&i'os (iroMfcvo'i) , which appear after the Boeotians adopted the Ionic alphabet. A similar change must have existed in very early Attic and Ionic to account for the change of / before u into s in av, " thou " for TV; some authorities think it was universal in the earliest Greek. Greek nowhere shows the symbol in the bowl shape that it has in the Semitic alphabet. From the 7th century B.C. both Y and V are found, sometimes both in the same area. Another form somewhat later has the upper strokes curved outwards T, while the angle is much less deep than in the other forms. It is noticeable that the symbol for u in the syllabary which was used to write Greek in Cyprus has this form amongst others. The name of the sLxth symbol in the Phoenician alphabet was Wow ( Van) , but though U has taken its form, in Greek its name was 5 (i.e. English oo, as in moon, except in Attic and Ionic, where it was like the French u in lune), not upsilon, as is frequently stated. In Sweet's terminology u (oo), as pronounced in English " put " or " too, " is a high back wide round, while the sound in the French sou or the Scotch pronunciation of " book " is a high back narrow round. The high front corresponding sound is found in the French lune. With this the German " modified u " (u) is often equated, but it is not really identical, being a mid front narrow round vowel. The pitch of the vowel u is among the lowest of the vowel sounds; the rounding and protrusion of the lips make the breath passage longer than it is for other vowels, and so its production may be compared to that of a sound made upon a flute when all the finger-holes are covered. In modern English u preceded by i (y) arises from three different sounds in middle English: (a) the long French u (u) brought in with borrowed words from French (duke), (b) eu (Early English low) as in " new, " (c) a more open sound eu (Early English eata) as in " dew " (Sweet, New English Grammar, 806). The y-sound was dropped after r, ch and dzh, as in " true, " " choose, " " juice " (ibid., 857). In the literary dialect also it generally disappears after /, as in " lurid," " lute." In some provincial and American pronunciations it is dropped everywhere except initially, so that " Tuesday " is pronounced Toosday, " new " noo. (P- Gi.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

U

Uakari
Ubangi
Ubeda
Udad, Aoudad
Udaipur, Oodeypore
Udal, Nicholas
Udal
Udine
Ueberweg, Friedrich
Uelzen
Uess, Heinrich Hermann Josef, Freiherr Von
Ufa, Government Of
Ufa
Uganda
Uglich
Uhde, Fritz Karl Hermann Von
Uhland, Johann Ludwig
Uighur
Uist, North And South
Uitenhage
Ujest
Ujiji
Ujjain
Ujvidek
Ukaz
Ukraine
Ulan
Ulbach, Louis
Ulcer
Uleaborg
Ulema
Ulfeldt, Korfits
Ulfilas
Ullathorne, William Bernard
Ullmann, Karl
Ulm
Ulpian
Ulrich
Ulrici, Hermann
Ulster, Earls Of
Ulster
Ultimatum
Ultramarine
Ultramontanism
Ulugh Beg, Mirza Mahommed Ben Shah Rok
Ulundi
Ulverston
Uman
Umarkot
Umballa
Umbelliferae
Umber
Umbra
Umbrella
Umbria
Umfraville
Umpire
Umra Khan
Unao
Uncle
Unction
Under-Croft
Underwriter
Undo, Mark Prager
Unemployment
Ungava
Ungulata
Unicorn
Uniforms Of Austria-Hungary
Uniforms Of France
Uniforms Of Germany
Uniforms Of Great Britain
Uniforms Of Italy
Uniforms Of Russia
Uniforms Of The United States
Uniforms
Union League Of America, The
Union, New Jersey
Union, South Carolina
Union
Uniontown
Unitarianism
United Brethren In Christ
United Free Church Of Scotland
United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Ireland
United Methodist Church
United Methodist Free Churches
United Presbyterian Church
United Provinces Of Agra And Oudh
United States Naval Academy
United States, The
Units, Dimensions Of
Units, Physical
Universal Languages
Universalist Church
Universities
University Courts
Unna
Unterwalden
Unyamwezi
Unyoro
Upas
Upholsterer
Upper Sind Frontier
Uppingham
Upsala
Ur
Ura-Tyube
Ural-Altaic
Ural Mountains
Uralsk, Province Of
Uralsk, Town Of
Uranium
Uranus, God
Uranus, Planet
Urban
Urbana, Ohio
Urbino
Urbs Salvia
Urdu
Urea
Urethane
Urga
Uri, Switzerland
Uric Acid
Uriconium
Urim And Thummim
Urinary System
Urmia, Lake Of
Urmia
Urn
Urotropin
Urquhart, David
Urquhart
Ursa Major
Ursa Minor
Ursins, Marie Anne De La Tremoille, Princess Des
Ursinus, Zacharias
Ursula, St
Ursulines
Urswick, Christopher
Urticaceae
Uruguay
Uruguayana
Usas
Usedom
Uselis
Ushak
Ushant
Usher, James
Usher
Usk, Thomas
Usk
Uskoks
Uskub, Uscup
Ustarana
Ustica
Ustyug Velikiy
Usury
Utah
Utamaro
Ute
Utica, Africa
Utica, New York
Utilitarianism
Utman Khel
Utopia
Utrecht, City Of
Utrecht, Holland
Utrecht, Natal
Utrecht, Treaty Of
Utrera
Uttarpara
Uttoxeter
Uxbridge
Uxmal
Uz, Johann Peter
Uz
Uzes
Uzhitse
Uzziah

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