1. We borrowed the letters of our alphabet from the Romans. The Romans had borrowed their alphabet from a group of people called the Etruscans. And the Etruscans had borrowed their alphabet from the Greeks. One of the Greeks' letters looked like our <X>. It was called chi, pronounced [kī], and it spelled the sound [k]. When we borrowed Greek words that contained chi, we changed the spelling from <x> to <ch>, still pronounced [k] - as in words like chorus, school, and Christmas. Most of the words in English that contain the sound [k] spelled <ch> come from old Greek words with chi. Underline the <ch> spellings of [k] in each of the following words:
2. Sort the words into the three groups described below:
3. There is one other spelling of [k] that is worth a special look. In a few words [k] is spelled <lk> - as in chalk. A long time ago the <l> was pronounced, but no longer. All of the following words contain an <l> that is usually no longer pronounced. Six of them end in the sound [k] spelled <lk>. Sort the sixteen words into the four groups described below:
4. In the words in which [k] is spelled <lk>, what letter usually is right in front of the <l>? ______. In words in which [k] is spelled <lk>, what other letter sometimes is right in front of the <l>? ______. In words that end <alk>, which does the <a> spell: [a] or [o]? ______. In words that end <olk>, which does the <o> spell: [o] or [ō]? ______.
Word Histories. The first letter of the Greek word for Christ was chi — or <X> — which is why we sometimes abbreviate our word Christmas to Xmas. The <x> in Xmas is really the old Greek chi.