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  1. The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters, each having an upper- and lower-case form. It originated around the 7th century from Latin script . Since then, letters have been added or removed to give the current Modern English alphabet of 26 letters with no diacritics , digraphs , nor special characters.

    • Latin Alphabet

      Etymology. The term Latin alphabet may refer to either the...

    • Letter names

      The ampersand has sometimes appeared at the end of the...

    • Diacritics

      The most common diacritic marks seen in English publications...

    • History
    • Proposed Reforms
    • Diacritics
    • Ampersand
    • Apostrophe
    • Letter Names
    • Phonology
    • Letter Numbers and Frequencies
    • Related Pages

    Old English

    The English language was first written in Anglo-Saxon futhorc runes, used since the 5th century. This alphabet was brought to what is now England, along with Old English itself, the earliest form of the language, by Anglo-Saxonsettlers. Very few examples of this form of written Old English have survived, with most of these being short writings or pieces. The Latin script, introduced by Christian missionaries, began to replace the Anglo-Saxon futhorc from about the 7th century, although the tw...

    Modern English

    In the alphabet of Modern English, thorn (þ), eth (ð), wynn (ƿ), yogh (ȝ), ash (æ), and ethel (œ) do not exist. Latin borrowings reintroduced homographs of ash and ethel into Middle English and Early Modern English, though they are not thought to be the same letters[source?] but rather ligatures, and in any case are somewhat old-fashioned. Thorn and eth were both replaced by th, though thorn continued in existence for some time, its lowercase form becoming more and more difficult to tell from...

    Different alphabets have been proposed for written English –mostly extending or replacing the basic English alphabet –such as the Deseret alphabet, the Shavian alphabet, Gregg shorthand, etc.

    Diacritic marks (extra marks to help non-native speakers with pronunciation) mainly appear in loanwords such as naïve and façade. As such words become a normal part of English vocabulary, there is a tendency to remove the diacritics, as has happened with old borrowings such as hôtel, from French. Informal English writing tends to get rid of diacritics because of their absence from the keyboard, while professional copywriters and typesetters tend to include them, such as Microsoft Word. Words that are still thought to be foreign tend to keep them; for example, the only spelling of soupçon found in English dictionaries (the OED and others) uses the diacritic. Diacritics are also more likely to be kept where there would otherwise be confusion with another word (for example, résumé (or resumé) rather than resume), and, rarely, even added (as in maté, from Spanish yerba mate, but following the pattern of café, from French). Sometimes, especially in older writing, diacritics are used to s...

    The & has sometimes appeared at the end of the English alphabet, like in Byrhtferð's list of letters in 1011. Historically, the figure is a ligature for the letters Et. In English and many other languages it is used to represent the word and and occasionally the Latin word et, as in the abbreviation &c(et cetera).

    The apostrophe, while not considered part of the English alphabet, is used to contract, or shorten, English phrases. A few pairs of words, such as its (belonging to it) and it's (it is or it has), were (plural of was) and we're (we are), and shed (to get rid of) and she'd (she would or she had) are distinguished in writing only by having or not having an apostrophe. The apostrophe also distinguishes the possessive endings -'s and -s' from the common plural ending -s, a practice that began in the 18th century; before, all three endings were written -s, which could lead to confusion (as in, the Apostles words).

    The names of the letters are rarely spelled out, except when used in compound words (for example tee-shirt, deejay, emcee, okay, aitchless, etc.), derived forms (for example exed out, effing, to eff and blind, etc.), and in the names of objects named after letters (for example em (space) in printing and wye (junction) in railroading). The forms listed below are from the Oxford English Dictionary. Vowels stand for themselves, and consonants usually have the form consonant + ee or e + consonant (e.g. bee and ef). The exceptions are the letters aitch, jay, kay, cue, ar, ess (but es- in compounds ), wye, and zed. Plurals of consonants end in -s (bees, efs, ems) or, in the cases of aitch, ess, and ex, in -es (aitches, esses, exes). Plurals of vowels end in -es (aes, ees, ies, oes, ues); these are rare. Of course, all letters may stand for themselves, generally in capitalized form (okay or OK, emcee or MC), and plurals may be based on these (aes or As, cees or Cs, etc.) Some groups of let...

    The letters A, E, I, O, and U are considered vowel letters, since (except when silent) they represent vowels; the remaining letters are considered consonant letters, since when not silent they generally represent consonants. However, Y commonly represents vowels as well as a consonant (e.g., "myth"), as very rarely does W (e.g., "cwm"). Conversely, U and I sometimes represent a consonant (e.g., "quiz" and "onion" respectively). W and Y are sometimes called semivowelsby linguists.

    The letter most commonly used in English is E. The least used letter is Z. The table below shows the frequency of letter usage in written English,[needs to be explained]although the frequencies change somewhat according to the type of text.

  2. The English Phonotypic Alphabet is a phonetic alphabet developed by Sir Isaac Pitman and Alexander John Ellis originally as an English language spelling reform. Although never gaining wide acceptance, elements of it were incorporated into the modern International Phonetic Alphabet.

  3. The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters and 2 ligatures (æ and œ)-- Are æ and œ really considered part of the modern English alphabet? Is there such a thing as "a Latin alphabet"? 2. Written English also uses a number of digraphs, but they are not considered to be part of the alphabet.

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  5. English is an Indo-European language and belongs to the West Germanic group of the Germanic languages. Old English originated from a Germanic tribal and linguistic continuum along the Frisian North Sea coast, whose languages gradually evolved into the Anglic languages in the British Isles, and into the Frisian languages and Low German/Low Saxon on the continent.

  6. The Old English Latin alphabet (Old English: Læden stæfrof) generally consisted of 24 letters, and was used for writing Old English from the 8th to the 12th centuries. Of these letters, 20 were directly adopted from the Latin alphabet, two were modified Latin letters (Æ, Ð), and two developed from the runic alphabet (Ƿ, Þ).

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