O! O? or even OOO…
So here we are, at the penultimate vowel of this amazing Alphabet Blog! You may not have noticed this, but O is actually one of the most hard-working of the five vowels. It appears in so many words in the English language.
What many people like about the letter O is its beautiful round form. Actually, although we have talked about several letters which have evolved from a shape that was completely unrelated to their current one, O does not show any signs of ageing and has been almost the same since the Phoenicians. Which means that its nice form has remained unchanged for about 3,000 years. Also, I had never really thought about it before, but the upper and lower case of O have almost exactly the same shape. o and O, the little one and the big one. I think that’s quite cute! Although C, S, V, W, X and Z have the same feature, O is the only vowel to appears this way!
O stands strong
O can also be a word on its own in English, as a synonym of the exclamation ‘Oh’. In Italian, ‘o’ means ‘or’. Do you know any other languages where O can be a word on its own? In addition, O carries several regional accents. For example, ‘about’ is usually pronounced ‘abewt’ by people from Ontario. While ‘notes’ might sound like ‘nayts’ when heard from Australians.
O is also used together with X as an informal sign-off. As people usually put a couple of Xs at the end of a text or an email to mean ‘Kisses!’. A few Os convey the concept of hugs. Although I must admit that I knew the X for kisses, but was a bit surprised to discover the ‘hug letter’. There is also the suffix ‘O-rama’, which we can see for so many websites and products, boasts an O and conveys the concept that there is something really special and ultimate about that product or business. OOO for example!
Moreover, we have all noticed that O really looks like the non identical twin of 0 (zero). Although they look very similar, this is not the case. The zero was born in the early Middle Ages in the Hindu and Arab lands. Originally it was just a dot or a tiny circle. Smaller than the other numerals as it would just serve as a filler in calculations. However, it grew in size in the 1400s in Europe, as the tendency was to write all characters in the same size. Zero is still skinnier than our chubby O.
And finally, how can we forget the row of Os that you get after performing a Google search?!? OOO and XXX to all our readers!