Letter (alphabet)

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A letter is a segmental symbol of a phonemic writing system. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_0

The inventory of all letters forms the alphabet. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_1

Letters broadly correspond to phonemes in the spoken form of the language, although there is rarely a consistent, exact correspondence between letters and phone s. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_2

The word letter, borrowed from Old French letre, entered Middle English around 1200 CE, eventually displacing the native English term bōcstaf (). Letter (alphabet)_sentence_3

Letter is descended from the Latin , which may have descended from the Greek "διφθέρα" (writing tablet), via Etruscan. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_4

Definition and usage Letter (alphabet)_section_0

Further information: Grapheme, Glyph, and Character (symbol) Letter (alphabet)_sentence_5

A letter is a type of grapheme, which is a contrastive unit in a writing system. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_6

The contemporary English-language alphabet consists of twenty-six letters, each of which corresponds to one or more sounds. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_7

Letters are combined to form words. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_8

A letter is classified as either a consonant or a vowel, depending on how its sound is produced (vowels are a, e, i, o, u, y and w— with y and w only sometimes classed as vowels). Letter (alphabet)_sentence_9

The basic Roman alphabet is used by hundreds of languages around the world. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_10

There are more phonemes in English–about 44–than there are letters of the alphabet. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_11

A letter may therefore be associated with more than one phoneme, with the phoneme determined by the surrounding letters or etymology of the word. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_12

Regional accents have a significant effect; the letter a can range from five to twelve sounds depending on the origin of the speaker. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_13

As an example of positional effects, the letter c is pronounced [k] before a, o, u, or consonants (e.g. critical), but is pronounced [s] before e, i, or y (e.g. democracy). Letter (alphabet)_sentence_14

Conversely, the same phoneme may be shared by more than one letter, as shown by the c and s in fence and tense. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_15

A sequence of graphemes representing a phoneme is called a polygraph. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_16

A digraph is a case of polygraphy consisting of two graphemes. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_17

Examples of digraphs in English include ch, sh, and th. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_18

A phoneme can also be represented by three letters, called a trigraph. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_19

An example is the combination sch in German. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_20

Specific names are associated with letters, which may differ with language, dialect, and history. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_21

Z, for example, is usually called zed in all English-speaking countries except the US, where it is named zee. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_22

As elements of alphabets, letters have prescribed orders, although this too may vary by language. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_23

In Spanish, for instance, ñ is a separate letter, sorted after n. In English, n and ñ are classified alike. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_24

Letters may also have a numerical or quantitative value. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_25

This applies to Roman numerals and the letters of other writing systems. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_26

In English, Arabic numerals are typically used instead of letters. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_27

Greek and Roman letters are used as mathematical symbols in equations and expressions. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_28

People and objects are sometimes named after letters, for one of these reasons: Letter (alphabet)_sentence_29

Letter (alphabet)_ordered_list_0

  1. The letter is an abbreviation, e.g. "G-man" as slang for a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, arose as short for "Government Man"Letter (alphabet)_item_0_0
  2. Alphabetical order used as a counting system, e.g. Plan A, Plan B, etc.; alpha ray, beta ray, gamma ray, etc.Letter (alphabet)_item_0_1
  3. The shape of the letter, e.g. A-clamp, A-frame, D-ring, F-clamp, G-clamp, H-block, H engine, O-ring, R-clip, U engine, U-bend, V engine, W engine, X engine, Z-drive, a river delta, omega blockLetter (alphabet)_item_0_2
  4. Other reasons, e.g. X-ray after "x the unknown" in algebra, because the discoverer did not know what they wereLetter (alphabet)_item_0_3

Classical definition Letter (alphabet)_section_1

The Consistori del Gay Saber was the first literary academy in the world and held the Floral Games to award the best troubadour with the violeta d'aur top prize. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_30

Guilhem Molinier, a member of the academy, gave a definition of the letter in his Leys d'Amors (1328–1337), a book aimed at regulating then-flourishing Occitan poetry: Letter (alphabet)_sentence_31

Types of letters Letter (alphabet)_section_2

Examples of alphabets and their letters Letter (alphabet)_section_3

Worldwide there are many alphabets used at present, with Arabic, Cyrillic, and Latin in widest use. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_32

The following alphabets, abjads, and individual letters are discussed in related articles. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_33

Each represents a different script: Letter (alphabet)_sentence_34

Letter (alphabet)_table_general_0

Example alphabetLetter (alphabet)_header_cell_0_0_0 Letters in example alphabetLetter (alphabet)_header_cell_0_0_1
Assamese alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_1_0 অ, আ, ই, ঈ, উ, ঊ, ঋ, এ, ঐ, ও, ঔ, ক, খ, গ, ঘ, ঙ, চ, ছ, জ, ঝ, ঞ, ট, ঠ, ড, ঢ, ণ, ত, থ, দ, ধ, ন, প, ফ, ব, ভ, ম, য, ৰ, ল, ৱ, শ, ষ, স, হ,ক্ষ, ড়, ঢ়, য়, ৎ, ং, ঃ, ঁLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_1_1
Arabic alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_2_0 (Alphabetical from right to left) , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , هـ, , Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_2_1
Armenian alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_3_0 Ա, Բ, Գ, Դ, Ե, Զ, Է, Ը, Թ, Ժ, Ի, Լ, Խ, Ծ, Կ, Հ, Ձ, Ղ, Ճ, Մ, Յ, Ն, Շ, Ո, Չ, Պ, Ջ, Ռ, Ս, Վ, Տ, Ր, Ց, Ւ, Փ, Ք, Օ, ՖLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_3_1
Syriac alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_4_0 (Alphabetical from right to left) ܐ, ܒ, ܓ, ܕ, ܗ, ܘ, ܙ, ܚ, ܛ, ܝ, ܟܟ, ܠ, ܡܡ, ܢܢ, ܣ, ܥ, ܦ, ܨ, ܩ, ܪ, ܫ, ܬLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_4_1
Cyrillic scriptLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_5_0 А, Б, В, Г, Д, Е, Ё, Ж, З, И, Й, К, Л, М, Н, О, П, Р, С, Т, У, Ф, Х, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ъ, Ы, Ь, Э, Ю, ЯLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_5_1
Georgian scriptLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_6_0 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_6_1
Greek alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_7_0 Α, Β, Γ, Δ, Ε, Ζ, Η, Θ, Ι, Κ, Λ, Μ, Ν, Ξ, Ο, Π, Ρ, Σ, Τ, Υ, Φ, Χ, Ψ, ΩLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_7_1
Hebrew alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_8_0 (Alphabetical from right to left) א, ב, ג, ד, ה, ו, ז, ח, ט, י, כ, ל, מ, נ, ס, ע, פ, צ, ק, ר, ש, תLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_8_1
Latin alphabetLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_9_0 A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, &Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_9_1
HangulLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_10_0 ㄱ ㄲ ㄴ ㄷ ㄸ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅃ ㅅ ㅆ ㅇ ㅈ ㅉ ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ ㅎ ㅏ ㅐ ㅑ ㅒ ㅓ ㅔ ㅕ ㅖ ㅗ ㅘ ㅙ ㅚ ㅛ ㅜ ㅝ ㅞ ㅟ ㅠ ㅡ ㅢ ㅣLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_10_1
BurmeseLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_11_0 က ခ ဂ ဃ င စ ဆ ဇ ဈ ည ဋ ဌ ဍ ဎ ဏ တ ထ ဒ ဓ န ပ ဖ ဗ ဘ မ ယ ရ လ ဝ သ ဟ ဠ အLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_11_1
BopomofoLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_12_0 ㄅ ㄆ ㄇ ㄈ ㄉ ㄊ ㄋ ㄌ ㄍ ㄎ ㄏ ㄐ ㄑ ㄒ ㄓ ㄔ ㄕ ㄖ ㄗ ㄘ ㄙ ㄚ ㄛ ㄜ ㄝ ㄞ ㄟ ㄠ ㄡ ㄢ ㄣ ㄤ ㄥ ㄦ ㄧ ㄨ ㄩ ㄭLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_12_1
OghamLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_13_0 ᚂ ᚃ ᚄ ᚅ ᚆ ᚇ ᚈ ᚉ ᚊ ᚋ ᚌ ᚍ ᚎ ᚏ ᚐ ᚑ ᚒ ᚓ ᚔ ᚕ ᚖ ᚗ ᚘ ᚙ ᚚ ᚛ ᚜Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_13_1
EthiopicLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_14_0 ሀ ለ ሐ መ ሠ ረ ሰ ሸ ቀ በ ተ ቸ ኀ ነ ኘ አ ከ ኸ ወ ዐ ዘ ዠ የ ደ ጀ ገ ጠ ጨ ጰ ጸ ፀ ፈ ፐLetter (alphabet)_cell_0_14_1
Tifinagh (Amazigh alphabet)Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_15_0 , , , , , , , , ⴳⵯ, , , , , , ⴽⵯ, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Letter (alphabet)_cell_0_15_1

The International Phonetic Alphabet is used to represent exact pronunciation, for example, , which is named a glottal stop. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_35

For other writing systems and their letters, see List of writing systems. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_36

Upper case and lower case Letter (alphabet)_section_4

Main article: Letter case Letter (alphabet)_sentence_37

A letter can have multiple variants, or allographs, related to variation in style of handwriting or printing. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_38

Some writing systems have two major types of allographs for each letter: an uppercase form (also called capital or majuscule) and a lowercase form (also called minuscule). Letter (alphabet)_sentence_39

Upper- and lowercase letters represent the same sound, but serve different functions in writing. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_40

Capital letters are most often used at the beginning of a sentence, as the first letter of a proper name or title, or in headers or inscriptions. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_41

They may also serve other functions, such as in the German language where all nouns begin with capital letters. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_42

In practical terms, tests have proven that lowercase words are easier to read. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_43

They also take up less space on the page, a considerable benefit when materials such as paper and ink were scarce and valuable. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_44

The terms uppercase and lowercase originated in the days of handset type for printing presses. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_45

Individual letter blocks were kept in specific compartments of drawers in a type case. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_46

Capital letters were stored in a higher drawer or upper case. Letter (alphabet)_sentence_47

Typeface and font Letter (alphabet)_section_5

Main articles: Typeface and Calligraphy Letter (alphabet)_sentence_48

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