Questions regarding the English alphabet.

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3
votes
6answers
2k views

A perfect (honest) pangram that is understandable for a regular native user?

Pangrams were pure wordplays, that because of IT has become a nice tool to test keyboard and fonts, assuming they are easy to remember and short. Therefore perfect pangrams are so nice: you don't need ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

List of inverted letters and their applications

Upside-down letters, as in ∀, and left-side-right letters, as in ∃, are used in mathematics and logic to indicate for all and there exists. Do you know other examples of such inversions ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

'When was the use of Þ diminished by the digraph 'th'?

Wikipedia does not mention the exact date, nor do any other sites that I have visited. While no Shakespearean book that I have read ( later 16th Century ) has the use of Þ in it, and the 15th ...
7
votes
1answer
168 views

Does one consider “vs.” or “versus” when alphabetizing?

I work at a game store, and my manager insists that "versus" is to be considered when alphabetizing, and is not in the same league as "a, as, the, and, of, or," and the like. Although I do deem it ...
0
votes
3answers
117 views

Guide to alphabetizing upper case versus lower case? [closed]

Does there exist a general guide to the alphabetization of degenerate cases? For example, which is to be listed first, "hamburger" or "Hamburger"?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

& as a letter in the alphabet?

I've been googleing and ran across this little blog post. It has a bit of information stating the the & symbol was at one point the 27th letter in the alphabet. For years the & symbol (now ...
3
votes
1answer
235 views

Is there a proper name for counting with letters?

How should one refer to the practice of using letters instead of numbers for counting? I'm referring to this: "A, B, C, ... X, Y, Z, AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, AG... ZX, ZY, ZZ, AAA, AAB..." ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Why did Old English use C while other Germanic languages used K?

During most the first millennium CE, North and West Germanic languages were written in runic alphabets. Gradually, each language shifted from the runic alphabet to the Latin alphabet. The people who ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

What Character Was Removed from the Alphabet?

From: http://blog.dictionary.com/ampersand/ the ampersand today is used primarily in business names, but that small character was once the 27th part of the alphabet. Is this true? Are there any ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is a w a “Double u”, but an m is not a “Double n”?

My 4 year old son just asked me this, and I have to say I am totally stumped. I hate not telling him things, so here's hoping you guys can dig me out of this hole. You can't fault his logic!
5
votes
5answers
772 views

Why does English omit diacritics on foreign names?

Why does English omit diacritics from foreign names that still use the Latin alphabet? For example, why are the Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych, the Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø, or the Polish ...
-2
votes
1answer
823 views

What characters are used in English for a person's name? [closed]

Obviously the letters A-Z (upper and lower case) are used in a person's name. Last names like "Smith-Brown", "Van Buren", "O'Brian" also use -, space and '. Historical ÆLFRÆD and novel names like "...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Why don't ligatures have names?

It is common to see ligatures such as Æ or Œ in reference to classical works such as Œdipus or Æsop but these do not seem to have names. Strangely enough in the Old English alphabet there were similar ...
-1
votes
1answer
215 views

Roman alphabet vowel arrangement [duplicate]

Is there any significance to the pattern we get when the Roman alphabet (upon which English is based) is arranged by giving vowels a "lead" column (which I hope you will be able to see as a grid)? ...
1
vote
5answers
801 views

Are there any plans to extend the English alphabet

Certain sounds possibly deserve their own letter in the alphabet, are there any indication that some more letter may be added to the English alphabet?
2
votes
1answer
238 views

How is the letter “Z” pronounced in Indian English?

How is the letter "Z" pronounced in Indian English? I assumed that Indian English is more similar to British English than to American English, and therefore would pronounce it "Zed". But I came ...
8
votes
2answers
771 views

What is the origin of the different pronunciations of C and G before different vowels?

In English the letters C and G usually have different pronunciation before a/o/u and before e/i. The same is true for Romance languages - French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. What is the origin of ...
2
votes
1answer
178 views

What does “is for” mean exactly? [closed]

I get the main idea in phrases like "L is for the way you look at me" and "A is for Apple", but I don't know the exact meaning. If you were to use other words instead of "is for" which synonym would ...
21
votes
4answers
47k views

What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question)

When writing (a blog post, script, etc..) what is the proper way to indicate two or more instances of a single letter? For instance, in Monty Python's Bookshop Sketch: C: I wonder if you might ...
27
votes
3answers
14k views

Ye olde english alphabet question: Any other letters lost besides thorn, edh, and yogh?

According to this link, we are missing (in Modern English) at least three letters that used to be in common use in English. These are thorn, edh, and yogh. Are there others that were clearly in the ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the word “formulæ” valid English?

Is the word formulæ, written with an æ at the end, valid in English? I stumbled upon this apparently plural form of formula in the Wiktionary. I had no idea the letter æ could occur in English. Does ...
5
votes
1answer
451 views

With character or sign

Is there a character or sign -- most likely historic -- for 'with', similarly to & for 'and'? Also for 'without'
0
votes
0answers
643 views

Spelling alphabet: Should I spell out each letter in my name using the spelling alphabet, or only the confusing letters?

I have a long name and spelling out every letter as "a as in alpha, b as in bravo" would take a very long time. I've heard people using only the expansion for confusing letters like M, N, etc. and ...
40
votes
2answers
4k views

Where does “ö” fall in alphabetical ordering?

Much to my surprise, I just learned that some English-language documents use the ö character. I need to know, when sorting words in an English-language document, where is ö placed? before A? ...
51
votes
3answers
15k views

Is there a reason behind the ordering of letters in the English alphabet?

Is there a reason behind the ordering of letters in the English alphabet? i.e. why are we taught “A,B,C,D,E,F,...,Z”? Why not “L,A,S,U,I,Z,...,C”? I am asking this because, in some of the languages I ...
4
votes
5answers
971 views

How to refer to “earlier” letters in the alphabet?

Concerning the order of letters in the alphabet, how does one refer to "earlier" letters? For example, "Names starting with "earlier" letters come first in lists." Would that be "earlier," "higher," ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Where does alphabetical order come from? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a reason behind the ordering of letters in the English alphabet? Alphabetical order seems something obvious, we do not usually ask ourselves if it is the best ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What non-alphabetic characters are valid in English spelling?

Is ' (the apostrophe) the only character which is not part of the English alphabet that can appear in the correct spelling of an English word?
3
votes
2answers
327 views

NATO and US Finance Spelling alphabets - Which is more commonly used in everyday situations?

This is mostly related to US "normal" day to day usage of the spelling alphabet. I am new to the country and most often emails/names etc needs to be spelled and I find it difficult to determine which ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any shorter pronunciation of W than double-U?

When spelling, every letter in the Alphabet is pronounced by a single syllable, with the only exception of W being pronounced "double-U". (Fun fact, in German it's approximately pronounced like the "...
6
votes
1answer
310 views
2
votes
2answers
19k views

Difference between Letter and Alphabet in English [closed]

Can anyone please explain what is the difference between "Letter" and "Alphabet" in English?
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Why hasn't the pronunciation of w been shortened?

"Double u" is a rather long pronunciation for a letter. Why do we not yet have a shortened pronunciation yet? Is the letter simply too young, or are there other reasons?
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What are the least common letters to start words? [closed]

What letters of the alphabet least commonly appear as the first letter of a word? I'm looking in particular for the 4 least common, but however many you want to give beyond that is welcome.
3
votes
4answers
10k views

Word for “only letters” [closed]

I am looking for a word that means "only letters A–Z", sort of like alphanumeric, but not numbers. The closest I got is alphabetic/alphabetical. The context is Please enter a [word] string: This ...
67
votes
5answers
60k views

If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?

I understand that the letter "J" is relatively new — perhaps 400–500 years old. But since there has long been important names that begin with J, such as Jesus, Joshua, Justinian, etc., and which ...
6
votes
2answers
15k views

Is “Roman alphabet” what we use for English?

I understand that the alphabet for the English language is not strictly English as languages such as French, Dutch and many more use the same alphabet, with few additions in other languages. Is Roman ...
6
votes
5answers
45k views

What are the conventional words for characters (A-Z)?

I have just read the newest post of DOGHOUSEDIARIES, and I am wondering whether the words for characters are fixed in the USA or the UK, as I am not a native English speaker. For example: A as in ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Why was it necessary to divide alphabets into vowels and consonants?

This may be an extremely simple question. I know pretty much what do we do when we see any vowel but I am curious why were these two classes created in the first place. I beg pardon for another ...
5
votes
2answers
676 views

R is the dog’s letter

Wikipedia: The letter R is sometimes referred to as the littera canina (canine letter). This phrase has Latin origins: the Latin R was trilled to sound like a growling dog. A good example of a ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Perfect English Pangram [duplicate]

Is there a perfect pangram for English language, a sentence that uses all 26 English letters that appear only once? Polish, Dutch and Russian, all has perfect pangrams. Polish: Pójdźże, kiń tę ...
9
votes
4answers
20k views

What word contains the most unique letters?

I'm assuming there isn't a word that contains every letter in the alphabet, so which word contains the most? Examples: antidisestablishmentarianism - 12 [antidseblhmr] psychotherapy - 12 [...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

I'm trying to teach Non-English kids the alphabet. What is a good list of words starting with A-Z? [closed]

I am writing a small software program to teach non-English-speaking kids English Alphabets from A to Z. Is there any list of simple English words which begin with each letter? For example Apple for "...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Foreign names: Transcription or literal spelling? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should foreign words (with foreign characters) be written in English text? Sometimes, you want to use the names of foreign people in English texts. This presents no ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the term which encompasses accents, umlauts, etc? [closed]

Is there a term that covers grave and acute accents, umlauts, cedillas, tildes and all other characters that can be added to normal letters. I have come across the word diacritics. But this seems to ...
8
votes
1answer
512 views

Anglicization of diacritical marks and non-English letters

In my understanding, many European cultures have compensated for the lack of certain characters on keyboards (especially old typewriters) by “anglicizing” some characters. For example, the German ß ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Where did the names of English letters come from, and why are they all monosyllabic (except for “w”)? [duplicate]

I don't know too many languages, but the ones I know have more elaborate names for their letters than the monosyllabicity of names for English letters. (E.g. - I'll pick on Greek here - ay instead of ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Why is the letter “w” the only letter in (basic) English alphabet that is not read as one syllable? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is a w a “Double u”, but an m is not a “Double n”? Is there any reason/history as to why "w" is the only letter in English alphabet that is not ...
24
votes
2answers
20k views

Why is X used when we pronounce it Z?

I've seen a lot of words use an X but be pronounced with a Z. Mitch Hedberg put it best: Xylophone is spelled with an X, that's wrong, xylophone's zzzz, X? I don't $%(@#& see it. It should be ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the name of this letter? [closed]

I came upon this letter when reading a book, I couldn't find its name on the internet, you can imagine how hard it is to search about it. What is the name of the letter that follows "sample space"? ...