As you might have noticed, I have not long ago added a logo to this blog. The logo features a “W” crowned on top of, not a “P”, but the old English letter wynn. This letter comes from the Germanic runic alphabet as used in Old England and stood for the sound /w/. However, after the Norman Conquest, this letter quickly fell out of use in favour of the Latin “VV”, which later became joined as a ligature to become “W”. (Bear in mind that almost all English words in “P” were borrowed, so the alikeness of “P” and wynn was never a problem.)
The meaning of this logo is manifold. Firstly, the name of this blog is Wrixlings, the homeborn English word for “changes”. Changes that were wrought by 1066 and all that and its fallout, and changes that I am making to Modern English in this project. The first letter of the word is “W”, hence the “W” and the wynn in the logo. The “W” is on top, as a crown, as it and everything it stands for has won out over the homeborn wynn. However, wynn still exists there in the logo, at the root, ready to push up and overthrow “W”; overthrowing the kingdom of everything “W” is associated with, and growing a strong English oak from the homeborn roots.
Now some other stuff.
The word “logo” is short for “logogram”, meaning ‘a sign or character representing a word’. It comes from the Greek λογος logos ‘word’ and γραμμα gramma ‘character, written thing’. It’s also interesting to note that “logo” is therefore a bishop-shifting of the word “logogram”. So “logo[gram]” is not homeborn English. What could we come up with instead? Well, “logos” is “word”, and “-gram” is a pretty close fit for “token”, which of course means “sign, symbol”. So, I suggest that “logo” could be wordtoken in Saxon English. We could make a portmanteau (?blendword) of this as woken or wooken: wo[rd]+[t]oken.
I spoke of how “W” began as a ligature of two “V”s. A ligature is a special joined form of two other letters. Another ligature is Æ. “Ligature” is clearly a Latin word. A ligature is a joined, tied, bound or blended letter. So… Tieletter? Bindletter? Blendletter? I quite like this last one.
“Letter” itself is Latin; the ?eremost (original) word in English was bocstæf: “book-staff” (“staff” more as in the thing Gandalf carries — a stave, a stick, a rod — than the employees of a company). We could try to bring back “bookstaff” or “bookstave”, as this word still exists in other Germanic languages: Swedish bokstav, German Buchstabe. But this would probably be a bit too much of a Germanicisation, and not English enough.
A “Letter” is literally a symbol, sign or token which stands for a sound or a combination of sounds; so why not soundtoken? Okay, “sound” in this sense is not homeborn, but it’s as good as we’ve got. So… tie/bind/blend+soundtoken. When all’s said and done, and despite it being a mongrel word, I would opt for keeping the word “letter” but ditching “ligature” for blendletter.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry