By Luke Hopkins
We use the alphabet every minute of everyday, usually without even noticing. It’s the backbone of communications for the majority of people worldwide. But how many of you out there know anything more about the alphabet than simply which letters its comprised of and how to use them?
This is the first part of a 26 part series of bite sized articles where I aim to inform you of few things about each letter which you probably didn’t learn in school. I find this stuff really interesting and it’s because of this that I’m writing these articles. I hope you get some value from it too. If you have any questions about any letter feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.
Now the most obvious place to start this series is the letter ‘A’, so here we go!
• The shape of ‘A’ can be traced back to an Egyptian pictogram of an Ox.
• ’A’ is the third most common letter in the English language.
The letter ‘A’ has origins estimated to be from 1600B.C. It’s form has changed over the past few thousand years but its linear form served as a base for the evolution of the letter to how it is today in Modern Language. The Ancient Greeks adopted the letter around 8BC however it wasn’t quite the same as we know it to be today. The Ancient Greeks version of ‘A’ is what we know as an ‘upper-case’ letter which was laid over on its left hand side to form a ‘less than’ mark with an additional vertical line running through it. Soon after it’s adoption, the letter in it’s upright format became a more common way to write ‘A’. There was however slight localised variations such as the angle which the cross mark is set or shortening of one leg.
The letter ‘a’ has two standard variations in its lower-case form. The most common form today is that of which the letter consists of a circle and a vertical stroke on the right hand side. The technical name for this version of the letter is “Latin alpha”. For legibility reasons, most printed publications today use the other form which consists of a circle with an arc over the top which is joined on the right hand side of the letter. This version has origins from the Uncial Script.
That sums up part 1 of the A-Z History of the Alphabet. If you have anything to add please feel free to comment.