Latin alphabet

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This article is about the alphabet used to write the Latin language. Latin alphabet_sentence_0

For modern alphabets derived from it used in other languages and applications, see Latin script and Latin-script alphabet. Latin alphabet_sentence_1

Latin alphabet_table_infobox_0

LatinLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_0_0
TypeLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_1_0 AlphabetLatin alphabet_cell_0_1_1
LanguagesLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_2_0 Official script in:


131 sovereign states


Co-official script in:


12 sovereign statesLatin alphabet_cell_0_2_1

Time periodLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_3_0 c. 700 BC – presentLatin alphabet_cell_0_3_1
Parent systemsLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_4_0 Egyptian hieroglyphsLatin alphabet_cell_0_4_1
Child systemsLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_5_0 Numerous Latin alphabets; also more divergent derivations such as OsageLatin alphabet_cell_0_5_1
Sister systemsLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_6_0 Latin alphabet_cell_0_6_1
DirectionLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_7_0 Left-to-rightLatin alphabet_cell_0_7_1
ISO 15924Latin alphabet_header_cell_0_8_0 Latn, 215Latin alphabet_cell_0_8_1
Unicode aliasLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_9_0 LatinLatin alphabet_cell_0_9_1
Unicode rangeLatin alphabet_header_cell_0_10_0 See Latin characters in UnicodeLatin alphabet_cell_0_10_1

The Latin or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language and its extensions used to write modern languages. Latin alphabet_sentence_2

Etymology Latin alphabet_section_0

The term Latin alphabet may refer to either the alphabet used to write Latin (as described in this article) or other alphabets based on the Latin script, which is the basic set of letters common to the various alphabets descended from the classical Latin alphabet, such as the English alphabet. Latin alphabet_sentence_3

These Latin-script alphabets may discard letters, like the Rotokas alphabet or add new letters, like the Danish and Norwegian alphabets. Latin alphabet_sentence_4

Letter shapes have evolved over the centuries, including the development in Medieval Latin of lower-case, forms which did not exist in the Classical period alphabet. Latin alphabet_sentence_5

Evolution Latin alphabet_section_1

Due to its use in writing Germanic, Romance and other languages first in Europe and then in other parts of the world and due to its use in Romanizing writing of other languages, it has become widespread (see Latin script). Latin alphabet_sentence_6

It is also used officially in Asian countries such as China (separate from its ideographic writing), Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and has been adopted by Baltic and some Slavic states. Latin alphabet_sentence_7

The Latin alphabet evolved from the visually similar Etruscan alphabet, which evolved from the Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet, which was itself descended from the Phoenician alphabet, which in turn derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics. Latin alphabet_sentence_8

The Etruscans ruled early Rome; their alphabet evolved in Rome over successive centuries to produce the Latin alphabet. Latin alphabet_sentence_9

During the Middle Ages, the Latin alphabet was used (sometimes with modifications) for writing Romance languages, which are direct descendants of Latin, as well as Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and some Slavic languages. Latin alphabet_sentence_10

With the age of colonialism and Christian evangelism, the Latin script spread beyond Europe, coming into use for writing indigenous American, Australian, Austronesian, Austroasiatic and African languages. Latin alphabet_sentence_11

More recently, linguists have also tended to prefer the Latin script or the International Phonetic Alphabet (itself largely based on the Latin script) when transcribing or creating written standards for non-European languages, such as the African reference alphabet. Latin alphabet_sentence_12

Diacritics Latin alphabet_section_2

Although it does not seem that classical Latin used diacritics (accents etc), modern English is the only major modern European language that does not have any for native words. Latin alphabet_sentence_13

Signs and abbreviations Latin alphabet_section_3

Although Latin did not use diacritical signs, signs of truncation of words, often placed above the truncated word or at the end of it, were very common. Latin alphabet_sentence_14

Furthermore, abbreviations or smaller overlapping letters were often used. Latin alphabet_sentence_15

This was due to the fact that if the text was engraved on the stone, the number of letters to be written was reduced, while if it was written on paper or parchment, it was spared the space, which was very precious. Latin alphabet_sentence_16

This habit continued even in the Middle Ages. Latin alphabet_sentence_17

Hundreds of symbols and abbreviations exist, varying from century to century. Latin alphabet_sentence_18

History Latin alphabet_section_4

Main article: History of the Latin script Latin alphabet_sentence_19

See also Latin alphabet_section_5

Latin alphabet_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin alphabet.