This article is about the alphabet used to write the Latin language.
|Languages||Official script in:
|Time period||c. 700 BC – present|
|Parent systems||Egyptian hieroglyphs|
|Child systems||Numerous Latin alphabets; also more divergent derivations such as Osage|
|ISO 15924||Latn, 215|
|Unicode range||See Latin characters in Unicode|
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Signs and abbreviations
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.
Furthermore, abbreviations or smaller overlapping letters were often used.
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.
This habit continued even in the Middle Ages.
Hundreds of symbols and abbreviations exist, varying from century to century.
Main article: History of the Latin script
- Latin spelling and pronunciation
- Euboean alphabet
- Latin script in Unicode
- ISO basic Latin alphabet
- Legacy of the Roman Empire
- Phoenician alphabet
- Roman letters used in mathematics
- Western Latin character sets (computing)
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin alphabet.