I evidently missed this announcement when it was first released, but it caught my attention when DailyWritingTips.com did the Best of Daily Writing Tips in 2010.
The article, “The Letter “Z” Will Be Removed from the English Alphabet,” by Daniel Scocco caused my mouth to gape in disbelief. “Tell me it isn’t so,” I whispered to my computer.
I happen to like the letters in our alphabet – all 26 of them. And who could not possibly love the Z? Part of the Phoenician alphabet, it’s been around since about 1000 B.C.
The article included a quote from the press release from English Language Central Commission (ELCC) saying,
“After carefully considering and debating the matter for over two years, the ELCC came to the conclusion that the letter “Z” should be removed from the English alphabet. The main objective of this change is to simplify the phonetic aspect of the language, and to unify the American and British spellings.”
According to David Sacks author of Letter Perfect,
“The potential indignity of being the alphabet’s caboose is compounded by one real weakness: Z is, on the average, the least-used letter in printed English. Of the 26 letters, Z finishes last in this race, too, behind Q and X, For every 1,000 appearances by E (our most-used letter), Q appears about 50 times, X 44, and Z a measly 22.
“No wonder Z has been called superfluous, mere excess baggage. In Shakespeare’s King Lear (A.D. 1605), the irascible Earl of Kent insults the fatuous courtier Oswald, calling by the British name for Z: ‘Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter!’”
Is this how the ELCC felt about the last letter in our alphabet? Is this why they came up with the ridiculous idea of deleting “Z” completely?
Before allowing my blood pressure to climb to a deadly high, I decided to look up this commission. That’s when I discovered that Daniel Scocco is a bit of a jokester.
“Whew!” I said to the empty room. "That was a close one."
What didn’t register was the date of the original article – April 1. The article was an April fool’s gag. Good one, Daniel!
So rest easy - the letter “Z” has nothing to fear.