Monday, March 22, 2021

The Anatomy of Græy


My favorite color is gray, or grey as some call it. Have you ever wondered why it's spelled both ways? In every past conversation I had on this matter, people find both spellings acceptable but all have a preference to one or the other. I recently read a web document where they used both spellings in different areas. The spelling with e was used for the explanation of the color and the spelling with an a for all the examples of the color. 

I recently discovered that both spellings are correct. In the New World the standard usage is with an a. In the Old World they tend to use e. What's the reasoning? Modern printing is to blame. The original spelling was actually with a ligature: æ. Yes, both letters, often called "ash", were used. That is why we say it the same way yet spell it differently. Typography made ligatures fade from use. I suppose it was simpler to keep a smaller variety of frequently used vowels. For some reason the New World dropped the e and the Old World the a. I might start using the ligature if I figure the key combo to bring it up. 

More importantly is why is this my favorite when some don't even consider it a color. I admit I was once a fan of green which morphed to blue over the years. Then brown, then blue then started back to green, stuck at a turquoise shade. Then suddenly gray. It's peaceful. It calms me. It is versitile and can be light or dark as the mood changes. It's not bright like white. It's not intense like black. Yet it can get close to either without really changing. If you are dark and brooding but want to smile, use grey. If you are bright and cheerful but want a dark soul, use grey. The message will be hidden and you will be happy. 

my turquoise bike ©2019 

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