z (minuscule)

From CODECS: Online Database and e-Resources for Celtic Studies
Z (minuscule)
z (minuscule)
Image: 1. Z-RawlB502f2ra.png 2. Zraif-23P12f168rb.png 3. Z-RawlB512-f12vb.png
» 1. [File] Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 502 [s. xi/xii + s. xvii], f. 2ra
» 2. [File] Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 P 12 (536) = Book of Ballymote [1384 x 1406], f. 168rb
» 3. [File] Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 512 [s. xv – s. xviin], f. 12vb

Letter(s) displayed: <z> (base form in image, without marks, as it may appear to the untrained eye)
Represents in Irish: z (in the scribe's mind or in normalised spelling)
Represents in Latin: z (in the scribe's mind or in normalised spelling)
Build type: Component
Position: Baseline
Type of symbol: Alphabetic letter
Letter case: minuscule
Represents: » In Irish: z
» In Latin: z
Comments: Occurrences of z are fairly exceptional in Irish writing. They tend to be confined to loanwords, including foreign (especially Hebrew and Greek) names, although z is more commonly transliterated as s.
n. 1 But cf. Sdeonan for Zeon in the Early Modern Irish poem ‘Imarcaigh sund ar gach saí’, ed. and tr. Peter J. Smith, ‘Imarcaigh sund ar gach saí: an Early Modern Irish poem on the contemporaneous emperors of Byzantium and the kings and ecclesiastics of Ireland’ in CELT... (1997-present, 2007).

A special case is the use of the letter z in the word zraif, i.e. straif, a term for a more or less comparable character in the Ogam alphabet. Damnus McManus remarks:

Straif must originally have stood for some distinctive sound which had become /s/ by the Old Irish period, and the probability is that /st/ was sufficiently distinct from /s/ at the time to warrant being assigned a symbol of its own ... The sound /sw/, which must also have existed in Primitive Irish is another, though less likely, candidate. Both /st/ and /sw/ generally fell together with /s/ by the Old Irish period and the manuscript transcription with Z, the only remaining sibilant in Latin with which Straif could be equated, is clearly designed to effect an independent status for what was by then a redundant symbol ... Z [...] was inspired by a comparison of Ogam with the Latin and Greek alphabets.

(Damian McManus, A guide to Ogam (1991): 38.)

Cf. Paul Grosjean, ‘Notes d’hagiographie celtique, no. 14: Le sigle Z dans les manuscripts insulaires’, Analecta Bollandiana 63 (1945)

See also
Examples in context: Examples in other contexts, if available
Entries related in meaning: Possible equivalents matching one of the values in the transcription above, if available

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