What can we learn about the letter B in Lingua-U by studying the sound-meanings of common English words? Quite a bit, actually. More than enough to get us to several key generalizations that will help us to use B skillfully in Integral Magic.
Recall from our recent lessons regarding the number Zero that in Lingua-U every letter can be reduced to or substituted for a number. This process is called Gematria, after the similar Kabbalistic process which applies to the Hebrew language. Lingua-U’s Gematria applies to the letters of Lingua-U, which are based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, but the process is the same.
B is 000 (which = 0), just as Eɪ is 00 (which = 0), and Aɪ is 0. We know that Zero comes before other numbers, and before starts with B. We know that Zero is at the base or bottom of other numbers, and both base and bottom start with B. We know that counting begins with Zero, and begin starts with B. In the Kosmos, we associate beginnings with the Big Bang, and both Big and Bang begin with B.
Think about it. Lingua-U is on to something. These associations are not random chance, but part of the design of the meta-language which is intended to show that language, when arranged in the form of Lingua-U, imitates or mirrors Nature. If for some reason there is another arrangement of language which is a more perfect mirror of Nature, then Lingua-U is challenged. It would need to evolve or die, iterating to a Version 2.0 or whatever, or ceasing to best fulfill its aspiration.
Now let us get on to the key generalizations that we are here to discuss.
Among the 500 most commonly used words in the English language, 35 contain the /b/ sound. In no particular order, these are: able, about, above, back, bad, be, bear, became, because, bed, been, before, began, behind, being, believe, best, better, between, beyond, black, both, boy, bring, brother, brought, business, but, by, husband, nobody, possible, remember, subject, and table.
We might also add below, base, bottom, binary, and so on.
First, notice that B is about bases or bottoms – back, base, bottom, below, above (the “a” shifts the next letter to its opposite), table, bed, before, black (a color base), began, behind.
Second, notice that B is about causes or existence – because, being, been, able, possible, subject, became.
Third, notice that B is about binaries or dualisms – both, between, beyond, but, husband, boy, brother, subject.
Fourth, notice that B is about proximity – by, about, beyond, between, belief (not knowledge).
Fifth, notice that B is about male persons – husband, brother, boy.
Sixth, notice that B is about strong judgments – better, best, bad.
To this list we could very well add all the connections between B and explosions or boldness or size, but we are already well on our way to understanding the sound-meaning of B.
B is a voiced bilabial stop. As Wikipedia notes:
Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also oral, with no nasal outlet, the airflow is blocked entirely, and the consonant is a stop.
Its place of articulation is bilabial, which means it is articulated with both lips.
Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
In Lingua-U, the B is denoted in Principles as Yang, Yang, Yang (│││). The first of these Yangs represents occlusive articulation (a stop!), the second of these Yangs represents bilabial articulation (both lips!), and the third represents voiced phonation (vocal chords vibrating!).
Combined, these three Yangs create the conditions in which the various sound-meanings of B arise. Although it is difficult to pin precisely how they operate, it seems reasonable to suggest that the first quality is related to the first and second Yangs, the second quality is related to the second and third Yangs, the third quality is related to the second Yang, the fourth is related to the first Yang, the fifth is related to all three Yangs, and the sixth is related especially to the third Yang.
We can also look to see how the sound-meanings of B are conveyed by the letter shape of B or b in the Lingua-U Alphabet (again, which is based on the IPA standard). In the upper-case B, we see a depiction of the lips which are stopped by a vertical bar. Thus the first two Yangs are depicted in the letter shape. The lower bulb of the B also serves as an indicator of the third Yang, meaning the voiced phonation (though this isn’t obvious unless the letter shape is compared to the P, which is the identical articulation but without the voiced phonation).
The linguist Magnus stated that “The essence of /b/ concerns two things of which one is lesser. /b/ identifies with this lesser element, the baddie, the back side.” It is true to Wisdom that the culmination of human aspiration is rarely found at the beginning or back side of a process, and so badness and inauspicious fortune telling has been linked to this letter. It is worthwhile to note that in slang usage, bad means good. When badness is identified with and accepted as part of a process of improvement, the badder something is is a measure of how much can be added to it. Thus, it is deeper, conveying gravitas and other positive attributes by virtue of its poor or humble beginnings.
We must also say something about the word “bear”. Of all the 500 most commonly used words in English, it is the first animal name to appear. Not even dog or cat appear! Of course, the Bear is aided in this degree of popularity because its name also means “to support, to carry”. And surely, Being itself is given this role, making it unsurprising that the words are identical in Lingua-U to four marks of subtle energy, and that Bear ascends to the Premiere Animwaa position in the New Zodiac (the Zodiac which is aligned with Lingua-U in the Third Wave, replacing the Aries-Pisces Zodiac which dominated the Second Wave).
In conclusion, the letter B (│││) in Lingua-U is a powerful consonant, the most Yang of all the 39 letters. It is deservedly associated with strong words such as BANG! BOOM! and BEGIN! It is associated with the inception of both BEING and BECOMING, and conveys a BINARY (dualistic) aspect, related to the dualism of the human lips whose separation makes the sound. To start something new, something else had to be stopped. The voiced bilabial stop is powerful enough to do this. It is the foundation of BALANCE and the resting place of THE BEAR, the Premiere Animwaa.