English Alphabet


The English alphabet is based on the  Latin alphabet 0041–007A . It contains 26 letters. The letter Y may signify both a vowel and a consonant sound, depending on the context. The letters W and R themselves represent consonant sounds, but they can be used as part of digraphs that denote vowel sounds. The English alphabet highlights no diacritical marks. However, they can be found in borrowed words.

Originally, the language of the Anglo-Saxons was recorded using runes, with the oldest monuments dating back to the 5th century. However, in the 7th century, Christianity began to spread on the island, bringing with it the Latin system of writing. Despite this, the influence of runes persisted. In 1011, the writer Birtfert introduced the alphabet, listing 23 Latin letters and adding 5 more, some of which were borrowed from runic writing.

The symbol Þ was pronounced similarly to the digraph “th” and was later replaced by it. Over time, the letter Ƿ gradually replaced the digraph “uu,” which eventually evolved into w. The combination “gh” took the place of the letter Ȝ.

In the 16th century, the English alphabet was expanded with the addition of the letters U and J, which were separated from V and I, respectively. The ligatures æ and œ can still be found in some words of Greek and Latin origin, although they are typically written using two separate letters, “ae” or “oe.” The ampersand & was once part of the alphabet until the 19th century.

The English alphabet has undergone relatively minor changes in relation to the language, which can make the reading process somewhat challenging. Instead of introducing new symbols to represent sounds, digraphs — combinations of two letters — are commonly used.