The Letter “Z” Will Be Removed from the English Alphabet

By Daniel Scocco - 1 minute read

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Surprising as it sounds, it looks like the English alphabet will be losing one of its letters on June 1st. The announcement came from the English Language Central Commission (ELCC).

Here is a quote from the press release:

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.

What will happen to the words that have the letter “z” in them? It depends on the word. According to the ELCC, words that started with a “z” will now start with an “x”. Examples include:

  • zero becomes xero
  • zoo becomes xoo
  • zone becomes xone
  • zodiac becomes xodiac

Words that featured a “z” with the “s” sound, on the other hand, will now be officially written with the “s” (i.e., unifying the American and British spelling). Examples include:

  • visualize becomes visualise
  • analyze becomes analyse
  • materialize becomes materialise

What do you think about this change? Will it really simplify the English language, or will it make things more confusing?

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250 Responses to “The Letter “Z” Will Be Removed from the English Alphabet”

  • T.Vilaça

    I’m scared!

    Hopefully it’s April Fool. Ok then.

    Just one thing that occured to me:
    How to distinguish between the ‘GZ’ and the ‘KS’ sounds?

    As in Exercise, Exagerate, Exam, Example, Xerxes, Xerox…
    (all ‘GZ’, right?).
    Or as in Extreme, Excellent, Extra, Exclude, Ex, Excited…
    ( all ‘KS’, yep?)

    Could anyone please enlight me on that ?

  • Peth

    Didn’t Mark Twain have this idea 100ish years ago. Only he reformed English completely.

  • Melissa Ramer

    April Fool’s, T.Vilaca! (And yes, your “gz” and “ks” observations are correct.)

  • thebluebird11

    Wasn’t going to step in, but…OK I’m stepping in. I’m only speaking for US English-speakers here. Dunno what people in other parts of the world are taught, including those in the UK. Dunno where Melissa Ramer is from.

    *Exercise is KS (EK-ser-size), not GZ.
    *Exagerate is spelled with two Gs, (exaggerate).
    *Xerxes and Xerox: The first Xs take the Z sound only; the second Xs each word take the KS sound (Zer-ksees, Zeer-oks).

    There, I’ve said my piece.

  • Mark Jordan

    Wow, this is craxy? First they demote Pluto, and now this. I love my Z and will go down fighting.

  • thebluebird11

    Oh yeah…and while I’m at it, I can enlightEN you that “occurred” has a double R as well…I’m not being mean…I’m being O-C. I assume you’re trying to improve your English; just trying to help. IMHO everyone should do that (including me).

  • Melissa Ramer

    You’re right, bluebird. I didn’t look closely enough.

  • thebluebird11

    No problem. My shrink is trying to find a medication that will work for my OCD LOL. When he does, I will spend a lot less time worrying about what happens to the letter Z and a lot more time being productive!

  • Gustavo Benitez

    I can’t believe this! I just invested all the money I recovered from my Madoff investments into a company that manufactures Zs!!! What is next?

  • Craig

    This is really happening, but only in England and New Xealand

  • Tim Krauss

    Hey, if you bought this I have a bridge to sell you. Oh, and check out “Google”, I got a hoot.

  • BigBenFactor

    Hello? Looks like my two comments were deleted or not approved.
    Any reasons for that?

  • D. Taylor-French

    Funny. I really thought it might make things easier. But then I knew I’d just want a divorce from X because I’d miss Z too much.

    I mean to lose piZZa, Zipper, Zing, Zoe!
    That’s too much.

  • Rafa

    LOL, obviously got to be a joke from april’s fool day….(don’t trust me) might be not… :S

  • nakomaru

    Actually, all of your examples in the second list should be in your first list. They should be “visualixe” “analyxe” and “materialixe”. At least, according to how everyone I’ve ever heard pronounce it, Brits included, and the Mirriam-Webster dictionary.

  • Suzanne

    I’m relieved to learn this was just an April Fool’s joke. Very clever!

    My name has a z in it and I come from New Zealand – Suxanne from New Xealand? No way!

    If someone really wanted to simplify the phonetic aspect of English spelling, z would be very important to keep – for example, what about the difference between ‘close’ as an adjective (a close shave) and ‘close’ as a verb (close the door)? Spelled more phonetically the latter would have to be ‘cloze’. The way we say it in New Xealand, anyway!

  • gmair

    why the Z???? I’ve always wondered why we hace the letter C. It doesn’t have its own sounds. It is either a ‘k’ or an ‘s’ sound. we should replace it with the either the K or S respectively for example the word bicycle should be spelled bisykle. I have further issues with the Y swinging both ways but that is for another forum. Another usless lett is the ‘Q’ it is uselss without a u behind it and really if you stick a kw together it makes the same sound as qu. For example try say kween wouldn’t you pronounce it the same as queen? last of all ‘x’ the obvious ‘z’ sounds can be replaced by letter Z. But the other sound ‘x’ makes is demonstrated by the word makes which has no x in it. Say the words makes out loud you’ll here an ‘x’ sound though. that is because ‘ks’ is the sound X makes so except should be eksept. Some may argue the ks is two letters and x simplifies the sound but then why not make a new lett for ch, sh, st, and the really baffling one ck?

  • Ole Friis Larsen

    I think, this removal of the ‘Z’ is to aprilize the language too far 🙂

  • Dan

    There must not exist an ELCC because implementing this change would do nothing to the phonology of English as described in the quote – a phonological change would require that everyone stop _pronouncing_ the ‘z’ as a ‘z’. This change would change the orthography primarily, perhaps with some phonological ramifications. Happy (belated) April Fool’s Day!

  • Cza

    This is impossible. What exactly becomes of my name now? Does this mean they’re removing the letter Z from device keyboards as well?

  • Tiago Vilaça

    Thanx Melissa and Bluebird11!!!

    Very useful tips and corrections.
    Thanx for warning me about my misspellings. I’ve checked those words pointed out by bluebird11 and that’s all correct. Not only for Am English. That’s the standard – according to the dictionaries.

    Well, sorry to bother you all again, but do you guys know if there are any words starting with ‘GZ’ sound ???

  • Melissa Ramer

    Gesundheit.

  • Tiago Vilaça

    In English I meant, por supuesto.

    (That’s German, right?!)

  • Melissa Ramer

    😉
    Yes, that’s German, but also appears in English dictionaries. That’s not what you had in mind though, is it?
    No, I know of no English word starting with the letter X that has the GZ sound.
    Suerte!

  • Tiago Vilaça

    Well, well…

    I’ll take it eventually. But I could swear I heard the Spartan King saying ‘Let’s give this ‘GZerGZes’ a lesson…’ refering to Xerxes, the Persian God-Kind in the movie ‘300’. Well, maybe that’s just Americans trying an obscure ancient Greek accent.

    I’m done. I guess I accept this.
    Gracias, though.
    BTW, Melissa, may I ask where are you from?

  • thebluebird11

    @ #44 (CalcDave), #59 (Gustavo), #68 (Ole Friis): LOLOL. Very funny and clever!
    I’ve never seen so many posts in one day here…it was great, but now I need to get back to work!
    Thanks, DWT, for the memories!

  • thebluebird11

    Tiago, I have never seen that movie, but perhaps he was deliberately mispronouncing it, to make fun of Xerxes and show his contempt for him? Or, perhaps because Xerxes was some upstart and little-known foreigner to him, he would never have heard of him and would not have known how to pronounce the name (in the movie, not in real life)? You know the old expression, “That’s Greek to me!” (although I’ve always wondered what the Greek expression is…)

  • Big Mike

    That’s just crasy!

  • gigioglvz

    what are going to do those people that have the letter z as their favorite letter? I can’t believe this is gonna happen

  • Melissa Ramer

    Hi Tiago (Santiago?)
    I’m from the USA but also speak Spanish and have a German heritage.
    Xerxes–pronounced Zerk-seez–is how I’ve always heard it.
    Now I suppose I will have to watch the movie “300” and listen for it. 😉

  • Gay Quizzy

    DUH! Such an April Fools’ Joke! Has anyone bothered looking up ELCC on Google? It does not exist! Everyone has been taken for an April ride! There’s no way I will change to Gay Quixxy! Double DUH!

  • daddyjohn

    Who are the members of ELCC?

  • Tarang Goyal

    well den :(( what will happen to d spelling of my fav anime dragonball Z.
    And chemistry’s slater rule’s Z-effect… den we will have to change d name of that effect too.. and it wud b better to remove dat effect along wid d alphabet too.. 😉

  • rashmi singh

    i guess many of us not going to belief that but i think its true
    . Not only “z” there are lots of things which we r leaving or removing from a life…

    we kw there is “Z” but wt if coming generation dont kw that there was “Z” letter was there..

    evry thing is possible.

    previously we all speak our own language
    now .. we speak mixture of all countries language
    and we even dont mind it becoz (because) it makes are life easier

    if u clearly see urself from beganing to till now u can see

    wts going on..:)

    wishes

    rashmi 🙂

  • Carly

    This is so fake. Why would the letter Z be removed from the alphabet? That would be preposterous. It’s a very useful letter. And this was posted March 31st at 7:07 pm, so it was clearly mean to be an April Fool’s joke. I believed it until I saw the day it was posted. It’s just a bunch of crap anyways so don’t believe it.

  • Kranti

    What will happen to amazon???? amaxon or amason??

  • sampreeti dey

    lets c…
    wat will happen to the scientific terms that r symbolized by “z”, if z’s gonna b abolised.. eg:- impedence in physics is denoted by “z”?
    seems that the science would also reform itself into a new avatar with the english alphabets..:)

  • Daniyal

    Lol. Nice one guys… I almost feel for the joke until i googled elcc which doesnt even exist. Haha…

  • Bruce Reynolds

    This is crazy talk, excuse me, craxy talk.

  • Stephen the Phonologist

    ERROR in blog post:
    “Words that featured a /z/ with the /s/ sound, on the other hand, will now be officially written with the ‘s’. visualize becomes visualise. analyze becomes analyse. materialize becomes materialise.”

    FACT:
    Sorry, but visualiZe, analyZe, and materialiZe all have /z/ sounds, not /s/ sounds. They are very clearly VOICED alveolar fricatives, not UNVOICED as the author would have us believe. Thus, the American spelling more directly represents the sound in these cases. In fact, in most US/UK spelling discrepancies, the US spelling is more representative of the pronunciation (and vice versa: in pronunciation differences, the US sounding is usually closer to the spelling)

  • Nikhil

    Which of the following would be correct?

    a. Children love to make sand castles.

    b. Children love making sand castles.

    I am guessing both should do, but I have doubts.

  • thebluebird11

    Not sure what sandcastles have to do with the letter Z…IMHO both are correct, but you spell “sandcastles” usually as one word…not that it is not understood when the words are separated. The only other thing I would add is that ADULTS love making sandcastles too! 🙂

  • neocow

    I just fell for this. -.-

  • jmic368

    At least I knew now that ELCC really ezist?!..ow..how should I write it?
    exist?…..ezizt?…exizt?…
    Thank you for the GREAT CONFUXION ELCC…

  • nvg

    just imagining what it would be like without z is crasy:
    say, what about the co-ordinate system?
    x,y,s?
    delicious pixxas?

  • ARVIND JOSHI

    The expression of sleep – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    can’t be repalced with – xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    It’s crazy !!!!!

  • Andre

    what about websites with letter z in the url?

  • christian

    WAAAH I got foooooled!! damn it

  • Shako

    I think this make things confusing
    bec now we have to change z-x or z-s in more than 1000 words

  • Haley Goodman

    i don’t think this is smart :/ i don’t like it!!!

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