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Shifting vowels & consonants independently.

A basic shift sees the letters of a word shifted along the alphabet n steps, looping from Z to A, to make another word. Today, however, the alphabet, as we recognise it, no longer exists. The 5 major vowels have opted out of that all-embracing 26-letter series to set up an alphabet of their own, predictably christened the 'vowel alphabet', AEIOU. The consonants, taken off-guard, are at a loss for words. The letter Y, never quite sure of where its loyalty lies but a believer in safety in numbers, stays with the consonants. So, we start shifting with the 5-letter vowel alphabet AEIOU and the 21-letter consonant alphabet BCDFGHJKLMNPQRSTVWXYZ.

In the vowel alphabet, the letter A shifts 1 step to E (not the usual B), 2 steps to I (not C), 3 steps to O (not D), and 4 steps to U (not E). And that is all, because a 5 step shift would bring A back to itself. Similarly, each of the other 4 vowels can shift a maximum of 4 steps. It follows that each of the 21 consonants is limited to a maximum 4-step shift. The vowels, it seems, have made a point! In the consonant alphabet, D shifts 1 step to F (not E), H to J (not I), N to P (not O), T to V (not U) and, by looping, Z to B (not A). The letter D shifts 2 steps to G (not F), 3 steps to H (not G), 4 steps to J (not H) ... and so on.

Let us take a look at a selection of the resulting shifts.

Words can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, unless stated otherwise. Locations, identified by country, are taken from The United States Board On Geographic Names.
1 STEP SHIFTS

4 letters
GINA--HOPE
FOUL--GUAM
ACES--EDIT
SINE--TOPI
DORA--FUSE
MIRA--NOSE
NEAR--PIES
VERA--WISE
MAIM--NEON
BOAR--CUES

5 letters
SISAL--TOTEM
CAMEL--DENIM
TAMIL--VENOM
DEWAR--FIXES
LEMUR--MINAS

6 letters
CAGERS--DEHIST
BURSAR--CASTES

2 STEP SHIFTS

4 letters
JESU--LOVE
LEAP--NOIR
SURE--VETO
REDO--TOGA
COIL--FAUN
KIEL--MUON
PERU--ROTE
SALE--VINO
COAL--FAIN
TALE--WINO

5 letters
ALDER--INGOT
BASER--DIVOT
COYPU--FABRE
MAZER--PICOT
ERODE--OTAGO

6 letters
MOPPER--PARROT
MALLOW--PINNAY

3 STEP SHIFTS

4 letters
SAGO--WOKE
HALO--LOPE
KILO--NAPE
JUNO--MIRE
PAIN--SOAR
LONG--PERK
SINK--WARN
PUZO--SIDE
LINO--PARE
ZING--DARK

5 letters
BATON--FOXER
BORON--FEVER
HURON--LIVER
BANCO--FORGE
CANON--GORER

6 letters
HERRON--LUVVER
SALLON--WOPPER


SUSAN THORPE

Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England

thorpeds@hotmail.com
COPYRIGHT 2007 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Author:Thorpe, Susan
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:383
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