HomepageAlphabets › English alphabet

English alphabet

The English alphabet is based on latin. Contains 26 letters. The letter Y can mean both a vowel and a consonant sound. The letters W and R themselves represent consonant sounds, but can be used as part of digraphs that denote vowel sounds. In the English letter, diacritical marks are practically not used. They can be found in borrowed words.

Initially, the language of the Anglo-Saxons was recorded with the help of runes. The oldest monuments date back to the V century. In the VII century on the island began to spread Christianity, and with it the Latin system of writing. However, the runes left their mark. Writer Birtfert arranged the alphabet in 1011. He listed 23 Latin letters and added 5 more. Some of these symbols were borrowed from runic writing.

Þ was pronounced in the same way as the digraph «th», and was subsequently replaced by it. The letter Ƿ gradually replaced the uu digraph, which eventually evolved into w. The combination gh replaced the letter Ȝ.

In the 16th century the English alphabet was enlarged with the letters U and J separated from V and I. The ligatures æ and œ can be seen in some words of Greek and Latin origin, however, in practice, they are simply written with two letters: «ae» or «oe». Ampersand & until the XIX century was part of the alphabet.

Relatively weak changes in the English alphabet with respect to language explain the difficulties of reading. Instead of introducing new symbols to designate sounds, digraphs are used — combinations of two letters.