More specifically:

What dictionaries or lexicons (considering all ever published) of the English language contain exhaustive lists of the characters or symbols used in the formation of the words contained therein? In a modern dictionary, such a list would contain a-z, the apostrophe, and the hyphen. I would not count special symbols that are used only in guiding pronunciation.

This is not a question about typography, but a similar question must come up every time someone designs a typeface (whether produced physically or electronically).

  • 2
    I'm glad you want to participate, but you're asking too many questions at once. Try to limit your query to something more specific. The help center has a lot of good advice for asking questions.
    – Spencer
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:52
  • 2
    It's English -- there are no "rules", no single "authority". The character set is whatever the typesetter can accomplish.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:56
  • When you design a new typeface today, you generally design it so they can typeset German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, in it. And that still isn't enough letters for Hungarian, Turkish, Romanian, Polish, Croatian, and other languages. So I really don't think it's come up every time somebody designed a new typeface. Jul 24, 2018 at 21:57
  • And this character set has definitely changed over time. 200 years ago, there were just hyphens and dashes. We now have hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes. Jul 24, 2018 at 22:01
  • @HotLicks, English has rules. Otherwise, you would not be able to read this response. The rules are fluid, which is why I included the concept of change over time, and they are not strict. But this is not the same as a lack of rules.
    – Ana Nimbus
    Jul 24, 2018 at 23:18


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