Mind your P's and Q's? ~ The Linguistics Zone

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mind your P's and Q's?

Mind Your P's and Q's
What is the origin of the phrase Mind your p's and q's?

1. The letters p and q, with the lowercase letters being a mirror image of each others, were often confused by children learning to write (and also by typesetters).

2. Mind your pints and quarts, as used by bartenders when serving.

3. Mind your please's (P's) and thank you's (the last syllable sounds like Q).

Interesting etymology tidbit: The word peas came from the Latin word pisum, and was adopted into English as pease. Since most nouns take an -s ending for their plural, the s sound was dropped and thus pea became the singular. This is an example of a back-formation.

196 comments:

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Is there anything for b and d? My mother said that they used to confuse me as a child.

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i can't type it as keyboard won't ...but we can write "q" with "/" i.e. "q/".. why it was evolved?

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* Serbian Republic of Bosnia (Република Српска / Republika Srpska, the de facto term used in French), capital Banja Luka, which declared its independence in 1992 and was recognized by the Dayton accords, but as self-governing territorial and not as " republic "constitutive of the Bosnian state;
* Brčko District located between the first two, in the north, which is not an administrative district of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but a territory of neutral status and self-managed in part by a supervisor appointed by the International UN.

Map of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the boundaries of both entities.

Mismatches between names and territories de facto one hand and swear to statutes other hand, creates a complex legal tangle. The Bosnian Serb Republic declared itself as an entity of the former Yugoslavia in 1992 as opposed to the proclamation of independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, while the Yugoslav constitution admitted the independence of the six republics, but not the establishment of new frontiers such as those of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia or Kosovo. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the requirements of the Badinter Commission either did not recognize the autonomy of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. This republic of fact can not be recognized as such by the international community. In 1996, the Dayton recognize him as the only self-governing territorial alongside the Muslim-Croat Federation, later renamed the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (which must not be confused with the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina, which is the only sovereign state recognized).

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