Nugget of Knowledge: Stambaugh Auditorium V’s

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What should be a "u" is carved as a "v" -- once in the word Stambaugh and twice in the word Auditorium

(WYTV) – Have you noticed the lettering on top of Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown?

What should be a “u” is carved as a “v” — once in the word Stambaugh and twice in the word Auditorium.

Why?

This is yet another one of the endless examples of Roman influence on Western language, architecture, law and culture.

Many old universities and monuments in this country still have ‘V’ instead of ‘U’ on their old buildings.

Even our money, the old Liberty quarter, had in “God We Trust” on it and the “u” in trust was a v.

It all goes back to the Latin alphabet. The really classical alphabet that the ancient Romans used had 23 letters, not the 26 we have today. It had no letter U or J or W.

Those three letters we added to the English alphabet around medieval times.

The Roman alphabet did have a V and the Romans used their Vs to represent the letter U, including the sound of the letter U. We’re copying their style because we want to be fancy.

It was also easier to carve a V than a curved U.

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