When we write in English, what alphabet should be used to represent all the words of standard English?

Are ASCII codes enough to represent all the English words?

Say, the word "café" is it English standard? If yes, should we count the é letter as the English standard one?

  • 3
    There is no "English standard" for spelling, especially for punctuation or specialized characters. Authors and publishers do what they think is right, which means anything at all, because their senses of rightness in orthography are eccentric and archaic and contradictory. Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 16:16
  • And for how to alphabetize: Where does “ö” fall in alphabetical ordering?
    – Laurel
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 16:49
  • 1
    The English alphabet doesn't include any letters with diacritics. Borrowed words such as cafe are often written without the accent (especially when we used to use typewriters, as English ones didn't have keys for accents). Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 17:05
  • 1
    @KateBunting It could be fairly easily argued that decorating a letter with diacritics doesn’t make it a different letter. So é and ë and such are just our standard Latin Small Letter E with ornate embellishments; the letter remains the same. Consider instead which is a Latin Small Letter Thorn to which a stroke has been added. Is Thorn an English letter? It surely once was but hasn’t been seen since “times mediæ̈val”. :) In contrast, is not an English letter ɴᴏᴛ because of its diacritics but because we don’t have an Omega in English—any more than we have a φ, Ж, ギ, or .
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 20:04
  • 1
    Fw English words require diacritics for sense. The one that comes closest may be résumé, since the spelling without accents is also used for an English word with a very different meaning. But Merriam-Webster doesn't claim that the acute accents are necessary to spell the noun correctly. Instead, it opens the entry for the word as follows: "résumé or resume also resumé". There are some English words that MW says are only spelled properly with accents, such as consommé and manqué, but I don't know whether their existence justifies inclusion of é in the English alphabet.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 21:00


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