Dictionary.com

What did the letter A originally sound and look like, and what animal was its inspiration?

There is quite a bit of mystery surrounding the letter A. From its prestigious first place position to its interesting character origin – tracing the first letter of the English alphabet uncovers a history of honor that begins with, of all things, an ox.

The letter ‘A’ is derived from the Phoenician letter ‘Aleph’ – a western Semitic word meaning the aforementioned beast of burden. Aleph can be traced back to the Middle Bronze Age and the Proto-Sinaitic script found in parts of Egypt and Canaan from around 1850 BCE (Before the Common Era). The character comes from an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph or pictogram depicting an ox’s head. Interestingly, the original image was reminiscent of the modern letter ‘K’ – imagine a sideways ‘V’ with a crossbar to indicate the ox’s horns. The letter originally served as a glottal stop (a stop consonant) in the Phoenician language such as a T or P in the middle of a word. Linguists believe the Aleph was placed at the beginning of the Phoenician alphabet to honor the ox, important for its muscle power and as a food source.

During the 8th century BCE, the ancient Greeks formed their own alphabet primarily based on the Phoenician alphabet. Since the Greeks had little use for a glottal stop, the Aleph was used to denote the vowel ‘a’ which was re-named ‘Alpha,’ possessing the phoneme ‘a’ as in “father.” The Greeks revised the former k-like character by turning it upright – similar to the modern day capital, or majuscule, letter A.

The Romans adopted the Greek alphabet by way of the Etruscans. Like the Etruscans before them, the Romans kept the character and phoneme intact; thus the Modern English vowel ‘A’ was born.

A is the third most commonly used letter in the English alphabet; the letter /e/ is in first place, followed closely by the letter /t/. The letter A likes to multitask, possessing three distinct phonemes: The /æ/, also referred to as a near-open front un-rounded vowel, denotes the ‘a’ sound in “apple” and “cat,” the open-back un-rounded vowel, or /a:/, denotes the long ‘a’ sound heard in “father” and “March,” and the /ā/, an orthographic vowel, exhibits the /ei/ sound heard in the words “made” and “fade.”

Okay, it’s your turn once again. Let us know which letter of the alphabet you’d like us to investigate next. The letter that gets the most comments will turn up here in the very near future.

Child Tax Credit Approval Caps Busy Month

AP Online May 21, 2004 | MARY DALRYMPLE, AP Tax Writer MARY DALRYMPLE, AP Tax Writer AP Online 05-21-2004 Dateline: WASHINGTON A vote to preserve and expand a $1,000 child tax credit topped a month of House work highlighting President Bush’s tax cuts during this election year.

House lawmakers have voted in succession to lock down the president’s tax cuts, a broadened bottom tax bracket and adjustments to the alternative minimum tax so that levy on wealthy tax dodgers wouldn’t snare more unsuspecting families.

The House voted 271-139 on Thursday to add the $1,000 child tax credit to the list of tax reductions they want to safeguard. The bill would cut taxes $228 billion over a decade and stop the child credit from dropping to $700 next year.

“If parents are to take advantage of this tax credit to purchase new clothes, school supplies or a new computer for their child or to invest in their child’s future, they need to know that these tax cuts are not here today and gone tomorrow,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. go to website child tax credit 2012

The Senate plans to wrap extensions of the three popular tax cuts into one bill and pass it later this year. The Republican budget passed in the House envisions a final bill that stops short of making the tax cuts permanent and instead calls for a one-year extension.

Opposition from moderate Republican senators who want to further limit tax cuts forced the Senate to postpone debate on that budget at least until June.

Fewer House Democrats backed the child tax credit bill than other bills cementing tax cuts. Many disagreed with GOP efforts to expand the full credit to families earning up to $250,000.

“This bill is outrageous,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. “What we’re doing today, here again, is offering huge tax breaks for those who need them least.”

The increase makes members of Congress with children eligible for the credit. They earn $158,100. site child tax credit 2012

“Do we need that tax break? I don’t think so,” said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.

The bill would make a bigger child tax credit immediately available to low-income families by accelerating a change scheduled to take place next year. That change lets families earning more than $10,750 to claim 15 percent of the credit as a refund. Currently, they can claim 10 percent.

Another change would let soldiers claim bigger credits by counting tax-free combat pay for purposes of calculating the tax credit.

The House voted 226-187 to reject a Democratic version of the bill that made preservation of the $1,000 child tax credit hinge on a balanced budget after 2010.

Democrats also wanted to make full-time minimum wage workers eligible for the credit by setting the bar for eligibility at $10,000, and to cover the cost of the bill’s tax cuts with a 2.75 percent surcharge on individuals earning more than $500,000 and couples earning more than $1 million.

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The bill is H.R. 4359.

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On the Net:

242 Comments

  1. FLee -  March 15, 2014 - 1:10 am

    Do me a fantastic favor find it in your heart to figure out Where F found its famous origin

    Reply
  2. Wordynamite -  April 22, 2013 - 9:31 pm

    If ae really denotes the sound in apple, then Encyclopedia Brittanica would be Encyclopadia Brittanica.

    Reply
  3. Cammy -  April 12, 2013 - 11:47 pm

    C is for Cammy ,cookie, and cool. The letter C please.
    Thanks Dictionary.com

    Reply
  4. Anonymous -  April 9, 2013 - 9:24 pm

    Not a letter, but “…”.

    Reply
  5. T Srinivasachari -  April 4, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    Really I have enjoyed this article on Z.The most interesting article in this string of comments is the one written on BCE.More information should pour on BCE.Going thru this I would like to know about the origin of all Alphabet & the numbers.This will help me when my Grandson & Grand Daughter approaches me with questions of the origins of Alphabet & number and the thought that I would be able to counter him with confidence delights me.

    Reply
  6. letter_a_is_cute -  January 15, 2013 - 10:54 am

    the letter “a” has the /a:/ sound when it’s an article (we do always use that article, how we do can see IN tha text and in tho comments)

    Reply
  7. Piratboy2 -  October 25, 2012 - 5:44 pm

    Q

    Reply
  8. Manasi -  October 12, 2012 - 10:52 pm

    I would like to know why C is used when there is already K and S.
    Or perhaps you can write about why the shape of L was created.
    Another Question: Why are English words mostly based on Latin words?

    Reply
  9. Ginger -  October 1, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    E

    Reply
  10. ESC -  September 6, 2012 - 9:32 pm

    I am actually more interested in hearing about those silent letters like ‘k’ in ‘knife’, ‘g’ in ‘gnaw’ etc..

    Reply
  11. Anupam -  August 28, 2012 - 11:51 am

    The alphabet W will be an interesting one.

    Reply
  12. Philip Spencer -  July 28, 2012 - 1:22 pm

    I’m curious about Q–it’s the only letter that doesn’t stand alone.

    Reply
  13. Nitrostreak -  July 24, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    I would love to hear about our most frequently used letter: E!

    Reply
  14. DLW -  July 3, 2012 - 9:27 am

    A does have four phonemes. But — Tal of Israel — the /a/ in “all” is the same /a/ in father.

    The fourth phoneme of /a/ is actually the “uh” sound, as in about or around. C’mon Dictionary.com, get it right!

    Reply
  15. 2nd -  June 11, 2012 - 4:02 pm

    Y please.

    Reply
  16. English cheese man -  June 10, 2012 - 8:51 am

    I’m interested in the letter Q. how did it happen that it is now only usable with only a ‘u’?

    Reply
  17. SeanE -  June 4, 2012 - 8:25 pm

    I want to know about the letter J!

    Reply
  18. Proofer -  May 23, 2012 - 6:08 am

    I would love to see an article written where the writer knows the proper use for quotation marks.
    As in, referring to the letter “a”, NOT as in, referring to the letter /a/.

    The use of a slash to denote where quotation marks SHOULD be used is a horrid abomination of punctuation. You are making a tiny quote, bringing the readers’ attention to what you are pointing out. For hundreds of years, a set of quotation marks did that quite comfortably…. and properly, as in:
    The movie’s name is “I am Will”, [example only, easy to understand]
    NOT
    The movie’s name is /I am Will/. [imagine if that were also in italics!!]

    Putting slashes on either side of a single letter can also be mildly confusing… they resemble italicized, lower-case “L”s.
    If the author would please, please, PUH-LEEEZE look up where a slash is correctly used and fix up the corresponding text in this article with appropriate sets of quotation marks (AKA “double quotes”), it would be a helluva lot easier to read.
    Oh, and a minor shout-out to “SomeoneSmart on May 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm”, the word is “voila”, NOT “viola”. A “viola” is an instrument. “Voila” is the exclamation to which you were referring. Not so smart. PROOF-READ!!

    Reply
  19. Tal of Israel -  May 15, 2012 - 1:23 am

    What about the A sound of the word ‘all’?
    ‘A’ has four phonemes.

    Reply
  20. SomeoneSmart -  May 10, 2012 - 1:09 pm

    P.S. I would love to learn more about the Greek alphabet, including the letter’s names and what they look like. Thanks!

    Reply
  21. SomeoneSmart -  May 10, 2012 - 1:06 pm

    Hey, if anyone is wondering (Paul, I know you asked) the word ‘alphabet’ comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Beta. If you put them together, you have alphabeta. Take off the last ‘a’, and viola! You get ‘alphabet’!

    Reply
  22. Barbara -  May 5, 2012 - 6:27 am

    I would love to know why ‘eth’ and ‘thorn’ were removed, and when. They’d be so useful in pronunciation, especially for new English speakers.

    Reply
  23. jonaury -  April 20, 2012 - 5:54 am

    J please :)

    Reply
  24. bubba joe -  April 16, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    I’m bubba and I know it!
    G G G GGG ya
    do the letter G ya
    I’m bubba and I know it!

    Reply
  25. bubba joe -  April 16, 2012 - 5:16 pm

    Once you think you have the answer scroll down!

    psst!
    the C is in the 13th line
    and it’s the 2nd letter!

    Reply
  26. bubba joe -  April 16, 2012 - 5:10 pm

    Do the letter G!
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GCGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    GGGGGGGG
    Try to find the
    letter C among
    all of the G’s!

    Reply
  27. NJH -  April 12, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Please explain why we use Ph for F in words like physics and phone?

    Reply
  28. Dexter -  April 10, 2012 - 8:39 pm

    I agree with Darcy, letter D would be cool to learn about (it’s the first letter of my name). Thanks!

    Reply
  29. Ben -  April 10, 2012 - 10:00 am

    B

    Reply
  30. Denise -  April 10, 2012 - 4:40 am

    Oops, sorry, meant ‘difficult’.

    Reply
  31. Denise -  April 10, 2012 - 4:36 am

    Oops, sorry, meant ‘difficult’ (sausage fingers).

    Reply
  32. Denise -  April 10, 2012 - 4:35 am

    I’d like to know about the letter ‘J’ – it has a hard sound in English, but a softer sound in French. I understand that it is a diffucult letter for them to pronounce – why is that? Thanks.

    Reply
  33. escuse me?! -  April 9, 2012 - 11:45 pm

    @Paul I know that ‘alphabet’ is made up of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet; ‘alpha’+'beta’ – just without the ‘a’ from ‘beta’.

    On a different note, I would love to know about every letter, but if I had to choose one, it would be between ‘x’, ‘m’ and ‘e’ (like why is the upper case ‘E’ different to the lower case ‘e’), for no particular reason. :)

    Reply
  34. Bryce ("C" shouldn't be a letter) -  April 9, 2012 - 6:21 pm

    “C” shouldn’t be a letter. It can sound like a “k”, like in cat which could easily be spelled kat and have the same exact sound. “C” can also sound like an “s” as in cesspool which could also be spelled sesspool and have the same sound. “C” doesn’t have an original sound, it’s just an “s” and a “k” in one letter. Therefore it should be removed.

    Reply
  35. :-) -  April 9, 2012 - 12:56 pm

    i think ‘Q’ ; its a weird letter

    Reply
  36. Vinoth Kumar -  June 13, 2011 - 2:46 am

    I want to know the origin of letter ‘V’

    Reply
  37. shannon -  June 3, 2011 - 1:04 pm

    W

    Reply
  38. Alyssa -  June 3, 2011 - 5:51 am

    What’s the story behind letter F and double u (w)?
    I would also like to know the etymology of the word alphabet (What’s up with the word ‘bet’?)

    Reply
  39. james -  May 28, 2011 - 5:40 am

    Why don´t we make @ to a new letter? Wouldn´t that be fun?

    Reply
  40. oluwaphunke -  May 27, 2011 - 12:01 pm

    appreciate d history,wil lyk 2 knw mre bout leta ‘k’

    Reply
  41. eric -  May 27, 2011 - 6:36 am

    U, V, and W. Why is “W” pronounced double “U” but looks like a double “V”? Why were “V” and “U” switched in old English writings but sound nothing alike?

    Reply
  42. Joel frost -  May 27, 2011 - 5:28 am

    X ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  43. Jessica -  May 27, 2011 - 12:23 am

    The history of each letter would be incredibly interesting. One a week perhaps? Of course I would be very interested in the letter J to start us off.

    Reply
  44. Marsh -  May 27, 2011 - 12:20 am

    “M” please? :) Pretty interesting article btw..

    Reply
  45. Vanessa, duh! -  May 26, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    heyyyyyy!!! how bout “V”!!!! It’s the opposite of a!!
    And i sure love a!!!
    VVVVVVVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVVV
    VVVVVVV
    !!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  46. Laila -  May 26, 2011 - 12:56 pm

    S, L, or R ??

    Reply
  47. AA&AL -  May 26, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    X for the next one, methinks :D

    Reply
  48. Jamen -  May 25, 2011 - 11:28 pm

    J..!

    Reply
  49. micklek -  May 25, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    Tell us about Thorn!
    It was a viking rune and it’s where all those mixed-up ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ sounds come from – also ‘ye’ for the, because it looked like Y but made a /th/ sound.

    Reply
  50. James Voris -  May 25, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    Why do they call it a W (Double U) when it’s a Double V and why does Q have to always have a u with it?

    Reply
  51. Adam -  May 25, 2011 - 10:36 am

    In addition to the three sounds that the “a” can make, it can (like all friggin’ vowels in English) make the schwa (medial, central, unrounded, unstressed…(and otherwise totally useless) /ə/ sound). I would like to see an article about the letter “h” …it’s sometimes pronounced…makes very little sound…doesn’t exist (for all intents and purposes) in many other languages…I’d be interested to find out why! ^_^

    Reply
  52. Scott -  May 25, 2011 - 8:57 am

    Everyone really got into this! No offense but what is so interesting about “L” or “M”? Now “X,” “Q” or “W” I can see. But what about “S”? I would have to guess they got it from a curvey SSSSSnake. It’s all interesting!!!

    Reply
  53. Curti -  May 25, 2011 - 8:56 am

    Letter C please. Just wondering why it’s needed when we have K for the hard sound and S for the soft. Not quite sure what to do with the CH.

    Reply
  54. m -  May 25, 2011 - 7:03 am

    M!

    Reply
  55. Ratnakar -  May 24, 2011 - 11:02 pm

    I would like to know about the letter X.

    Reply
  56. Megan -  May 24, 2011 - 10:07 pm

    Harry,
    Yeah, I agree! When did BC (Before Christ) become BCE (Before Common Era)? They must know that it’s completely inaccurate. BC has always been the proper way of saying it. You can’t just change that.
    By the way, Z was already picked, but any of the letters would be cool to find out the history on.

    Reply
  57. Meta_X -  May 24, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    C might be nice to learn about. It makes a “K” sound, and also an “S” sound, so it’s mostly useless. But, it also makes the “CH” sound, which is kind of odd cause it’s a lot like SH.

    Reply
  58. Denisse -  May 24, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    I would love to hear (or read) about the letter D, M, F or C! =D

    Reply
  59. Innox -  May 24, 2011 - 6:36 pm

    I think “W” is interesting. Why is there a “U” and then a “double-U”, but with a “V” separating them?

    Reply
  60. Cara -  May 24, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    Q!!!

    Reply
  61. Carmen -  May 24, 2011 - 5:11 pm

    How bout ñ? :-)

    Reply
  62. Pat -  May 24, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    P!!!! p is a beautiful letter and deserves to be recognized…

    Reply
  63. jojo michelle -  May 24, 2011 - 4:38 pm

    yo dawg

    letter j, man

    Reply
  64. kandykane3 -  May 24, 2011 - 3:27 pm

    I would definately love to learn the history of my favorite letter C, please! :)

    Reply
  65. Jessica -  May 24, 2011 - 1:30 pm

    how bout “Q”? i mean its obviously just an “O” trying to be all fancy with its pointless little tail. And why does it make a very different and unique sound when paired with its partner in crime… “U”!

    Reply
  66. Lynda Finn -  May 24, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    Why does Q usually have to be followed by U ? There seems to be no reason for it.

    Reply
  67. Set -  May 24, 2011 - 10:44 am

    A is supernatural. Attack of the ghosts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  68. Michael Thomas Angelo -  May 21, 2011 - 6:13 pm

    I would like to know about the letter T.

    Reply
  69. DDDDan -  May 21, 2011 - 5:08 pm

    The word z”Alphabet comes” from the Greek alpha beta, which is derived from the Aramaic Aleph-Beth. Beth means “house” I.e Bethlehem. C is not explicitly for Cookie” but for “Gimmel” which is camel in Aramaic. Hence the k sound. D is for Delta ( greek) and deliph in Aramiac or “door” Epsilon is a greek word- I forget the Aramaic counterpart- but the meaning is window.

    Reply
  70. Mr. D [A.K.A] Elysian -  May 17, 2011 - 7:57 am

    They already did “X”, and @the epicness that is me C is a Coooool letter.

    Reply
  71. Lucia D'Angelo -  May 16, 2011 - 1:15 pm

    Mr. O’Brien: Keltic is the pronounciation on the isles, and Seltic came from “Celtique” as the say in French, or in France, or back then when it was Gaul.
    Oh, and it was the Gershwins in 1937 who wrote those lyrics, but isn’t Louis’ and Ella’s version just wonderful?

    Reply
  72. elsiegabreil -  May 16, 2011 - 9:32 am

    Adorable:-)) how about the letter L,

    Reply
  73. Some one -  May 15, 2011 - 5:18 pm

    wen W is rittn like uu it looks more like a dubl u

    Reply
  74. jebbiii -  May 14, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    I would like “J” too but it would be nice to also trace out its use in some language cousins like spanish and nordic languages

    Reply
  75. ozisule anebira -  May 14, 2011 - 8:44 am

    thanks Bryan, i have always wondered what His mother and His other folks called Him. The name varies as much as the translations of the Book. please how is the original Jewish name pronounced, tired of using corrupted vversions! vote for X

    Reply
  76. Ray Shell -  May 13, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    I would like to hear how M and N got put together and why the M came first when the N is easier to write and like the firsst two-thirds of M.

    Reply
  77. Dave C -  May 12, 2011 - 3:12 pm

    I’m a fan of learning about the letter Q. Q reminds me of a fuzzy car seat cover. It’s only useful if there’s a seat under it, but it’s kinda neat to have around. Q needs U to do any real work, and U is already busy, being a vowel, which is a tough job. To make matters worse, Q always gets to be first, while u has to come next, in lowercase, unimportant, unnoticed.

    Now that I’ve pondered this, I’m kind of pissed at Q for being so lazy and taking all the credit. So how about we learn about U instead, and give it the respect it deserves?

    Reply
  78. Lawrence Urbanski -  May 12, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    I vote for the letter L.

    Reply
  79. Godfrey Ashby -  May 12, 2011 - 1:23 pm

    The letters c x and q have een put to good use in the Xhosa language. They are used for the three basic ‘click’ consonants. So there q does not need to be followed by u unless it is a genuine vowel.

    Reply
  80. Brandon -  May 12, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    Great article – how about some thoughts on the letter Z? It seems to be neglected in some English speaking cultures but finding new life in the USA’s text-driven modern short-hand. “Wuz up with that?”

    Reply
  81. Metnurse -  May 12, 2011 - 10:57 am

    ‘master of the cats’, my cats object! They want C and T.

    Reply
  82. Lakee Dorsey -  May 12, 2011 - 9:18 am

    L please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  83. Ravononi -  May 12, 2011 - 9:01 am

    I have always been interested in the origin of letters and numbers, and i think the letter R would be a great one to do. I suggest that one because its the begining of my name, and everything that has to do with R or K i always want to know about. I think they are the most unique letters of the alphabet.

    Reply
  84. master of the cats -  May 12, 2011 - 8:38 am

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmandzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQandWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWw

    Reply
  85. Jenny -  May 12, 2011 - 8:18 am

    I would love to hear about the letter G! :))

    Reply
  86. Burnice -  May 12, 2011 - 8:03 am

    Well…the letter “B” is next in line…why not?!?!

    Reply
  87. Gavo -  May 12, 2011 - 7:56 am

    I’d like to know why we don’t consider the letter ‘W’ to be a vowel….?

    Reply
  88. Gavo -  May 12, 2011 - 7:56 am

    I’d like to know why we don’t consider the letter ‘W’ to be a vowel….? :/

    Reply
  89. Rachel -  May 12, 2011 - 7:43 am

    yeah, I’m good with C.

    Reply
  90. dan -  May 12, 2011 - 7:41 am

    X please

    Reply
  91. dan -  May 12, 2011 - 7:39 am

    X

    Reply
  92. Lucy -  May 12, 2011 - 7:38 am

    How about X?
    I always thought it was an odd letter to have given that the sound it represents is more of a consonant cluster than a single phoneme.

    Reply
  93. Book Beater -  May 12, 2011 - 7:16 am

    I would much rather discuss the pictographic or ideographic basis of the letters of all writing systems.
    As a is to ox or kaf is to hand.
    Wouldn’t that be so much fun. Instead of beating one poor letter to death. The whole world could chime in reguarding thier own favorite letter.
    What does a tau represent or kieuk?

    Reply
  94. Evan -  May 12, 2011 - 6:23 am

    I want to learn why the alphabet goes in order. what is the purpose of that? and I agree on the whole “W” thing

    Reply
  95. your dog is interferring with the enjoyment of our backyard -  May 12, 2011 - 6:01 am

    i agree with lester. this is all very interesting. i like the letter “P”. i like the way my lips feel when I pronounce it. the “Puh” of it is quite intoxicating. also “X” is like “ECKS” say it once to yourself, “ECKS”…what a letter. fabulous.

    Reply
  96. Lester B Poltergiest -  May 12, 2011 - 5:56 am

    i like all of the letters. i really really do. so many letters so little time, is how i feel. i really want to see somebody cover some important letters like “X” or “P”

    Reply
  97. Mr. Curious -  May 12, 2011 - 5:34 am

    The letter “X” could be interesting

    Reply
  98. annapurna -  May 12, 2011 - 5:31 am

    For all who love curves, do ” S”. Anybody seen a more graceful letter?

    Reply
  99. Ken O'Brien -  May 12, 2011 - 5:21 am

    Yes, let’s hear about the letter “C”. You say Keltic, I say Seltic, let’s call the whole thing off! (Sorry, Louis Armstrong.)

    Reply
  100. Manjot Singh -  May 12, 2011 - 3:59 am

    Attaboy.!
    Lucky ox.
    I love it.

    Reply
  101. J -  May 12, 2011 - 3:03 am

    JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

    Reply
  102. pareshwar -  May 12, 2011 - 2:59 am

    I love you.

    Reply
  103. Pasha -  May 12, 2011 - 2:13 am

    Oh, and by the way, would you please do something based on Russian letters? My mother Asti Ionenko would love that, I will put it on her grave…

    Pasha Ionenko

    Reply
  104. Pasha -  May 12, 2011 - 2:12 am

    Very interesting! I am a teacher and my pupils will find that very interesting, especially Vera!

    Pasha Ionenko

    Reply
  105. panda -  May 12, 2011 - 2:02 am

    i would like to know the letter x

    Reply
  106. Lenely -  May 12, 2011 - 1:44 am

    I also would like to know how the letter/s ‘L’ came about… =D

    Reply
  107. Xelca -  May 12, 2011 - 1:31 am

    I’d love to know more about the letter ‘X.’ It’s a rarely used letter.

    Reply
  108. Berks -  May 12, 2011 - 12:39 am

    Since you started with A then please continue on with B.

    Reply
  109. jame -  May 12, 2011 - 12:17 am

    @ BRYAN : versatile huh…

    Reply
  110. Hala -  May 11, 2011 - 11:54 pm

    C! maybe came from a horse hoof?

    Reply
  111. Zash -  May 11, 2011 - 10:50 pm

    In order of preference: X, C, Z, and Q (why is it NEVER without that u?) Thank you!!

    Reply
  112. Dipesh Kapoor -  May 11, 2011 - 10:40 pm

    Good research ! Great job ! I want you to work on letter K

    Reply
  113. Team H- Flow -  May 11, 2011 - 9:38 pm

    Letter J please?

    Reply
  114. nom -  May 11, 2011 - 9:29 pm

    thanks. this is interesting. i will share this with my students.

    Reply
  115. Kim E. Cat -  May 11, 2011 - 9:13 pm

    “C” or “X” would be awesome!

    Reply
  116. erik -  May 11, 2011 - 8:35 pm

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    Reply
  117. Erin -  May 11, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    Would love to know about the letter ‘E’! BTW, interesting information…

    Reply
  118. Katie -  May 11, 2011 - 7:51 pm

    Paul, I believe the word ‘alphabet’ is derived from the greek language.

    Reply
  119. LLOOPP -  May 11, 2011 - 7:40 pm

    DONT STOP, BELEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  120. Joaquin Garcia -  May 11, 2011 - 7:21 pm

    J, X, or Z.

    Reply
  121. Hanah D -  May 11, 2011 - 7:06 pm

    @Paul The word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters in the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Beta.

    Reply
  122. Bai Bai -  May 11, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P P

    Reply
  123. Natalie -  May 11, 2011 - 5:02 pm

    @ Paul: The word “alphabet” seems to me to be somehow related to Greek, as it begins with “alpha”, the first Greek letter, and ends in possibly an abbreviated form of “beta”. It interests me, too. I’d like to ascertain the connection.

    Reply
  124. Shaula -  May 11, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    I would love to know about “W” (as others have mentioned: why double “u” and not double “v”?) and “Q.” Mainly because “Q” always messes me up in my Scrabble games.

    Reply
  125. Sharon R -  May 11, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    I always wondered about X
    Or Z
    But I really didnt think about
    S or R
    So i dont care what letter you
    do cuz im not sure…
    BUT I BET YOU’LL DO X
    :D

    Reply
  126. Dani -  May 11, 2011 - 4:50 pm

    W for sure. why two “u”s instead of a totally new letter for the “w” sound?

    Reply
  127. nina -  May 11, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    what about n?

    Reply
  128. JOE -  May 11, 2011 - 4:22 pm

    I SAW IT ALSO

    Reply
  129. FRANK -  May 11, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    NO – IM NOT KIDIN!

    Reply
  130. FRANK -  May 11, 2011 - 4:18 pm

    I DID TO – ITS IN PEOPLE MAGAZINE

    Reply
  131. BowTie -  May 11, 2011 - 4:15 pm

    to the next vowel!
    E!

    Reply
  132. Bryan H. Allen -  May 11, 2011 - 4:14 pm

    Sure enough, within the span of 77 comments (at 13h PDT, 2011/05/11), someone complained about The Hot Word’s correct, rightful use of “BCE”.  They who issue such needless complaints need to know and respect the fact that they backfire and annoy many others.

    This column (or “blog” entry) was above-average in the absence of gaffes.  Nevertheless, in the future, the writers need to anticipate the many overly sensitive religious readers and fundamentalist readers and prophy­lactically seek to defuse the grounds of their complaints.

    In this case, perhaps a wordy phrasing like this would help explain the usage: “…around 1,850 BCE (Before the Common Era or common system of reckoning years)”.  Insightful, open-minded readers should recognize that the A.U.C. (Ab Urbe Condita) system of counting ancient years is not in common use, like the Julian Day number system of avoiding the cumbersome counting of years.  Obviously, dogmatic readers (and people prone to find effrontery and disparagement ex nihilo) would continue to be offended, but at least the writers could declare “We tried to conciliate sensitive readers.”

    “Harry” (May 11, 2011 at 3:38 am) declared “It is the first letter in the name Christ.”  However, “Christ” is not a name but a religious title.  (Now obviously, Jesus’ loving parents did not call him מְשִׁיחַ—Messiah, let alone the Greek translation Χριστος, but, יְשוּעַ—y·shûa‘, we can guess, just as Harry’s parents did not call him Mis­ter, Chairman or President.  Think, please!)  Though Harry’s semantic structure is vague and ambiguous (the reference of “it”), he seems to equate the Latin Xx with the Greek Χχ.  Their likeness of appearance and histo­ry is irrelevant; they are functionally distinct (and must be computer-coded differently as a result, just like ×).

    He then criticized ‘the neo-secular [abbreviation] “BCE” (before common era) instead of the term that has been used for centuries[:] BC (before Christ) that people of all faiths, or of none[,] have recognized and used.’

    However, for centuries, some people called Mumbai by the false name Bombay, Myanmâ/‌Myanmar as Burma, and Zimbabwe as Rhodesia, amongst many better examples.  Yet, the affected peoples sought to correct the deviations.  Similarly, the real year of Jesus’ birth is unknown, but the best conjecture is 4 BCE.  There, you see: the common system of reckoning years is incorrect even with respect to the religious purpose!

    Moreover, is it just and proper to reckon the Christian era’s beginning from Jesus’ birth or his ministry’s commencement?  Think!  In the Christian belief system, did his practical function as Messiah to Jewry and the world begin with the former or the latter?

    This linguistical blog must exclude arcane, thorny religious questions unless pertinent to the linguistical question.

    My religious beliefs are equally irrelevant and extraneous.  Nevertheless, I prefer “BCE” and “CE” over “BC” and “AD” because they are more accurate and blessedly religiously neutral.  I believe that wielding a theologi­cal ax every time one speaks is intellectually wrong and, moreover, morally wrong if it demands the listener’s agreement with any religious precept or opinion.  I say it bluntly: it is sinful to demand others’ prior agreement with one’s religious judgements.

    People should not antagonistically demand or presume others’ religious agreement just to converse about religious questions—or beliefs, even in the descriptive terms they employ.  Jews, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists should not be expected or intimidated to acquiesce in beliefs they do not (yet?) hold.  And here, the Hot Word’s topic was not even indirectly religious!

    To Harry and all of like minds, I commend to you the wisdom of the great, master psychologist embodied in Matthew 7:5 and Luke 6:42.  Please, seriously read them about a dozen times, and seriously write an essay about its plenary range of meaning and pertinence.  Doing so may even promote soul growth.

    Finally, Hot Word: please compile and web-post an index of topics and key words in The Hot Word, for the benefit of them who did not read the prior answers to their questions.  Is it not satisfying to let readers find what they seek with little effort?  But that prerequisites a little more effort from you.  Please.

    Reply
  133. EH -  May 11, 2011 - 3:49 pm

    Y, please! It is my absolute favorite letter and is so often overlooked!

    Reply
  134. kirsten -  May 11, 2011 - 3:45 pm

    K! :)

    Reply
  135. Dallas -  May 11, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    Z

    Reply
  136. Dallas -  May 11, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    Z would be nice to know about

    Reply
  137. 3lf -  May 11, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    I agree with FrenchLady13. Or “S” plz, for my beloved SUJU!!!!

    Reply
  138. Jackson -  May 11, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    Awesome post, you guys should go into the history of Q and/or X. Neither of them seem necessary in modern English to me, since they combine consonant sounds but don’t really have those sounds today.

    For Q to make a /kw/ a U seems necessary every time, which makes it seem redundant. X is apparently meant to make a /ks/ but seems to sound like a /z/ sometimes, as in xenophobia, and xylophone, and a /gz/ sometimes in words like exhausting, and exact. It’s even unnecessary as a letter because words in like excellent, KS would require the same number of letters.

    Reply
  139. RenataParkes -  May 11, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    The letter “k” as the Italians do not have such. Also, cut out the PC stuff-don’t we all get tired of that? It’s BC – before Christ.

    Reply
  140. boo -  May 11, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    s or g

    Reply
  141. jessica -  May 11, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    how you all doin

    Reply
  142. Ea -  May 11, 2011 - 2:59 pm

    @Paul The word alphabet comes from the first two greek letters, alpha and beta.

    Reply
  143. priya -  May 11, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    the Letter “P” is so intriguing. Could you explain more about it?

    Reply
  144. Nitya -  May 11, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    I would like more info on the letter s, and particularly its origins from that weird f lookalike character. Hope it wasn’t done before I happened across this wonderful site.

    Reply
  145. Sarah -  May 11, 2011 - 2:24 pm

    idk y im commenting on this but it makes me happy

    Reply
  146. Jake Sylvestre -  May 11, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    This is a very interesting topic. I always look forward to read this section because it astounds me with its interesting pieces of research as it divulges the history of the different fields of the English Language. I am curious as to how the letter “L” came into the English alphabet. I would also like to know the etymological background of the word “alphabet”.

    @ paul
    alphabet

    alpha is the first letter of the greek alphabet and Beta is the last letter

    Reply
  147. the epicness that is me -  May 11, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    Who else votes that we should get rid of the letter c? its so useless, k and s make the same sounds

    Reply
  148. Daphne -  May 11, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    oy oy! so many interesting letters!!!

    I like
    L
    X
    R
    Q

    sounds like elixir….. queen.

    HA i have made a word of my letter choices so mow you must investigate these letters.

    Reply
  149. troy mitchell -  May 11, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    i just looked at the list…. thanks french lady….i’m with you…

    Reply
  150. troy mitchell -  May 11, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    The letter L is of particular interest to me, i doubt it is the most popular, maybe some people can help me out and ask for L……

    Love….

    Reply
  151. Doaa -  May 11, 2011 - 12:21 pm

    Aleph (أ); is also the sound of the first letter of the Arabic Alphabet; so doesn’t that just prove that we all nothing at the end but ONE?

    Reply
  152. Lucia D'Angelo -  May 11, 2011 - 11:52 am

    Let’s go straight to X !, used so frequently in the Basque language, a olanguage unrelated to any other in the world, yet similar in sound to X used in Chinese, right? I like learning the origin and derivation of letters and words, since our modern English is such a relatively new language in the world, formed only 400 years ago (or so) in part by Shakespeare and the King James Bible.

    Reply
  153. blubba -  May 11, 2011 - 11:51 am

    ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    Reply
  154. blubba -  May 11, 2011 - 11:50 am

    s

    Reply
  155. Meep -  May 11, 2011 - 11:39 am

    The letter “4″ please

    Reply
  156. christensen -  May 11, 2011 - 11:22 am

    One for vote for the letter /c/. Interested in it’s such common usage despite its redundancies (/k/ and /s/ make the same sounds).

    Reply
  157. R. Winston -  May 11, 2011 - 11:15 am

    Was Robert Graves correct in The White Goddess when he claimed the N and the F traded places in the alphabet after the Battle of the Trees?

    Reply
  158. Sydney -  May 11, 2011 - 11:13 am

    I really liked Bull’s question on why the letter “W” is not referred to as “double v.” Please research “W” next! I would love to hear what you have to say about this letter!

    Reply
  159. Brittany -  May 11, 2011 - 11:00 am

    very interested in learning the history behind X!

    Reply
  160. Priscilla -  May 11, 2011 - 10:38 am

    d and b since the look similar in lower case.

    Reply
  161. Bekah -  May 11, 2011 - 10:11 am

    Investigate the letter Q. I wanna know what the point in it is, besides just making words look fancy.

    Reply
  162. French Lady -  May 11, 2011 - 10:07 am

    I’d like to learn the letter “L” for… lion, love, likable, luscious, leo, let’s, live, lick, lasting, Lord, lucky, laughter, lust, lips, lap, limbo, like-minded, lifeguard, lessons, leisurely, leader, ladylove, lady-in-waiting, Lancelot, lake, landmark, landscape, lenitive, legalize, legend, limelight, linkages, linguist, linkup, lionhearted, linger, lyrical, lurid, lubricate, lucid, lovelorn, longing, longstanding, longevity, loose ends, lottery, Lord’s Prayer, lost longtime, light hearted, lifesaver, looking glass, lovable, literature, literacy, lock, loanword, leading question, lessee, legmen, listen, lockout, lookout, lodging, lotion, lorn, lubricate, lure, lover, luxury,…LIST

    Reply
  163. Bull -  May 11, 2011 - 10:03 am

    Why is “W” not called Double Vee???

    Reply
  164. Chloe -  May 11, 2011 - 9:51 am

    Can you explain the letter ‘C’ and the letter ‘P’ sometime? I’d love to know!!

    Reply
  165. Nina -  May 11, 2011 - 9:19 am

    X, V, or W. X is interesting in its own right, and why is it used to denote ‘j’ sounds when transcribing foreign words (e.g. Xian)? V and W are interesting, because W often has a V sound in germanic languages.

    Reply
  166. #1 Skillet Fan -  May 11, 2011 - 9:08 am

    I’d Like M :)

    Reply
  167. name -  May 11, 2011 - 9:05 am

    do C. I wonder why we use it when we could/kould use k or s

    Reply
  168. Vegtam -  May 11, 2011 - 9:04 am

    Interesting! The first letter of the Futhark and other runic alphabets is Fehu, which means Cattle, and it actually looks like an F, very similar to the description made here for the Aleph. Moreover, together with a giant, a cow was the first being to appear in the universe according to norse mythologies.

    Reply
  169. Stacy -  May 11, 2011 - 8:46 am

    How about P

    Reply
  170. A -  May 11, 2011 - 8:36 am

    @Paul, I don’t know for sure, but “Alphabet” just sounds like it combines “alpha” and “beta”, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. There’s probably more to it, but it doesn’t sound like it’s that complicated a history.

    Reply
  171. Andrew -  May 11, 2011 - 8:34 am

    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z
    Z

    Reply
  172. alesha bivens -  May 11, 2011 - 8:00 am

    Wow that amazing forreal what about the letter t??

    Reply
  173. Ryan Mode -  May 11, 2011 - 7:55 am

    This was a very interesting and informative article. Please can you investigate the letter ‘Q’. Even though it is one of the least used letters in the English language, I would really like to find out where it came from and why there are no words, in the English language, beginning with ‘Q’ without the letter ‘u’ immediately following after. The only word I can think of beginning with ‘Q’ without the letter ‘u’ is ‘Qatar’ and that is a proper noun. Thank You

    Reply
  174. aprichita upadhyaya -  May 11, 2011 - 7:32 am

    i would like to know about theletter T

    Reply
  175. aprichita upadhyaya -  May 11, 2011 - 7:31 am

    it is amazing to go through the site. i hope it will improve my knowledge a lot. i will request my friends to see this.

    Reply
  176. Rachelle -  May 11, 2011 - 7:21 am

    What about the letter R?

    Reply
  177. Sebastian -  May 11, 2011 - 7:19 am

    Thank you for a very interesting article. I was wondering if you could list some of the sources for your research on these origins for this and whatever the next letter is. I’ve always wondered how these things are researched.

    Reply
  178. Valérie -  May 11, 2011 - 7:01 am

    I would like to know why

    “W” is called “double-’U'” in English and “double-’V'” in French.
    Can’t we all see it is a “double-’V'”?

    Valérie

    Reply
  179. ??? -  May 11, 2011 - 6:50 am

    z

    Reply
  180. Mommy of MMM -  May 11, 2011 - 6:38 am

    J please!

    Reply
  181. Jungle -  May 11, 2011 - 6:34 am

    “R” please!!

    Reply
  182. Jen -  May 11, 2011 - 6:22 am

    J

    Reply
  183. Meg -  May 11, 2011 - 6:16 am

    Hm…how about “M?” :)

    Reply
  184. Mark -  May 11, 2011 - 5:21 am

    I agree with Rebecca, the letter “C”

    “I would say “c”. I’ve always thought it was kind of unnecessary because it makes a “k” and an “s” sound, and we already have those letters!”

    Reply
  185. CybrSage -  May 11, 2011 - 4:49 am

    Interestingly enough, the first written alphabetic writing found to date was located in Egypt, where it is believed that the Hebrew slaves who routinely carved out the hyroglyphs altered them and formed a sound based alphabet – or more precisely a sound based aleph beit. This same writing was found in the turquoise mines, where Hewbrew slaves toiled. A prayer to God begging for deliverance was found etched into the wall. All the semetic peoples used derivations of the same language, so it is no surprise the Phonecians also formed a version of the letter Aleph.

    Reply
  186. Incognita -  May 11, 2011 - 4:45 am

    I vote for the letter W. What’s up with the weird, two-part name?

    Reply
  187. Peter O'Connor -  May 11, 2011 - 4:32 am

    Aleph – isn’t a million miles from eire (Gaelic = burden).
    Not to be confused with Éire – the correct name in Irish for the island of Ireland and the state.

    Reply
  188. Ligia -  May 11, 2011 - 4:29 am

    Well, my name,obviously, starts with ‘L’, so I would like to know more about this letter, but ‘Q’ sounds more appealing as I am very curious to know its origin and how it came into use, as in my language, we do not have words which start with it.

    Reply
  189. elow -  May 11, 2011 - 4:07 am

    the letter is simply beautiful

    Reply
  190. Harry -  May 11, 2011 - 3:38 am

    To Camsy:

    Don’t look for these “scholars” to give you a legitimate answer for “X”. The letter identified as X in English or Latin comes from the ancient Greek letter “xi” (pronounced roughly as “hee”). It is the first letter in the name Christ. I say this because of their use of the neo-secular acronym “BCE” (before common era) instead of the term that has been used for centuries BC (before Christ) that people of all faiths, or of none have recognized and used. These days there are many “erudite” individuals that deny that Christ even truly existed. Makes me wonder what they are afraid of….

    Reply
  191. hello! -  May 11, 2011 - 3:24 am

    Yey Lebanon!!!!!

    Reply
  192. Marzena from Poland -  May 11, 2011 - 3:23 am

    I’m selfish: please write about letter “M” :)

    Reply
  193. HAZIMAH -  May 11, 2011 - 3:06 am

    Research on H please! and W (double ‘U’). Why double ‘U’ and not double ‘v’?

    Reply
  194. beautifulPHILIPPINES -  May 11, 2011 - 2:41 am

    like ALEPHant :P

    Reply
  195. Cate -  May 11, 2011 - 2:28 am

    C or Q please – either would be interesting. Both seem a bit redundant in that their sounds could be replaced by other letters. And Q can rarely even be used on it’s own – what’s the point in a letter that has to be followed by a U all the time?? How did that happen? Another really interesting piece from the hot word team, reading these livens up my morning :)

    Reply
  196. Andrew -  May 11, 2011 - 12:28 am

    the whole thing with Vs Ws and Us (called “double u” but looks like two Vs)

    but I’m actually more interested in X please …

    Reply
  197. Ricky -  May 10, 2011 - 10:32 pm

    My favorite letter X!!!

    Reply
  198. Hussain -  May 10, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    H

    Reply
  199. Molly -  May 10, 2011 - 9:51 pm

    The letter “W”, because it was not part of the original Roman alphabet that we use.

    Reply
  200. Nadia -  May 10, 2011 - 9:35 pm

    This is very interesting! Could we have an article about the order of the alphabet? That seems like a big topic, but it would be really interesting. Also, maybe one about th, ch, and sh, and why so few languages have the th sound (if we don’t have one already)? Thank you!

    Reply
  201. Abbs -  May 10, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    This article was very interesting… I wonder where they get all of there information and if it is all nonfiction…

    I would love to learn more about the letter C. As some of the people above said, it makes the same sounds as the letters ‘s’ and ‘k’, but why would we need duplicates?

    Also, I’ve been wondering if the alphabet made in order like A being made first and Z being made last. If so then why were K and S created?

    So, I would love to learn more about the letter C, please.

    Reply
  202. anonymous -  May 10, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    plz plz the letter D!

    Reply
  203. anonymous -  May 10, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    i would l♥v to hear about the letter D!

    Reply
  204. Nonie -  May 10, 2011 - 8:49 pm

    Tell us about the letters S, L, D & R. Love your article. Thanks!

    Reply
  205. jame -  May 10, 2011 - 8:44 pm

    Letter J please… ???

    Reply
  206. TYPER16 -  May 10, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    @French Lady 13: You probably know this but the French W translates directly to “double v” in English. COULD YOU GUYS DO Q OR SOME USELESS LETTER LIKE THAT?!

    Reply
  207. jame -  May 10, 2011 - 8:43 pm

    I would like to know where’s the letter “J” derived from… “in the very near future” ??? I wonder when is that… hmmm.. i hope it won’t take long.. i’m so eager to know where letter “J” derived from.. =)

    Reply
  208. lyn -  May 10, 2011 - 8:29 pm

    thank you for the information. but how about the history of letter M?

    Reply
  209. CAM -  May 10, 2011 - 2:49 pm

    Today’s article was brought to you by the letter “A”

    Reply
  210. Christine -  May 10, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Since the letter ‘p’ is not found in Arabic, I’m interested to know more about it.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  211. Rebecca -  May 10, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    I would say “c”. I’ve always thought it was kind of unnecessary because it makes a “k” and an “s” sound, and we already have those letters! Or the letter “z”.

    Reply
  212. Blaine -  May 10, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    I would love to learn about the letter L

    Reply
  213. French Lady 13 -  May 10, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    What about the letter “V” I have always wondered what language the English Alphabet took the astonishing letter. And if there is a “V” then why have a “W” And why call it a “W” when it obviously is a double “V”! :)

    Reply
  214. DMZ -  May 10, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    i say yes, tell us about that useless letter called “C”!

    Reply
  215. Chelsea-Brooke -  May 10, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    Or even “Z”

    Reply
  216. Kashxo -  May 10, 2011 - 2:25 pm

    oooooh, that is soooo cool!! Can we learn about the letter C next, please??

    Reply
  217. me -  May 10, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    n

    Reply
  218. kshdj -  May 10, 2011 - 2:07 pm

    ;)

    Reply
  219. Science4God -  May 10, 2011 - 1:23 pm

    How about letter “M”… :)

    Reply
  220. louis paiz -  May 10, 2011 - 12:55 pm

    if you could please i would like to know more about the alphabet that i found in an old dictionary where it shows the way of communication with thorns or rose buds with its steam on some 2 horisontal for a, 2 reects for b, perpendicular ford c, and so on. for me it was a great discovery i like to hear from the dictionary intelectuals about it . thank you very much for your attention.

    Reply
  221. Cheralyn -  May 10, 2011 - 12:41 pm

    C or M :)

    Reply
  222. Jonathan -  May 10, 2011 - 9:59 am

    J please!

    Reply
  223. JJ Rousseau -  May 10, 2011 - 9:11 am

    Emoticons, twitter, texting and so on in the future we will be no longer here to hear. Ay? What was the question, Oui?

    Reply
  224. Darcy Bittencourt -  May 10, 2011 - 9:06 am

    Very very interesting.
    I would like to know more about all letters to tell the truth. But If I had to choose only one it would be the letter D (from my first name of course).

    Reply
  225. SesameStreet -  May 10, 2011 - 7:58 am

    @eyesflux C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me. Speaking of which, I’m off to make some cookies.

    Reply
  226. camsy -  May 10, 2011 - 7:56 am

    I would love to hear about the letter X!

    Reply
  227. Carlitos -  May 10, 2011 - 6:37 am

    I wonder if it would ever be appropriate, in a future era, to devise a new alphabet and a new language based on knowledge and science and all the accumulated experience and intellect of humanity up to that point. A common language for a common people, united in their efforts to better their humanity, their world, and themselves. This assumes, boldly, that we’re all capable of continuing our own evolution.

    Reply
  228. A-more | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  May 10, 2011 - 6:21 am

    [...] Amore! When the Moon hits your eyes like a Biga Pizza Pie — What else is there to say — about the letter A — The Alpha and Omega or the Yin and Yang do pray. — Our language limitation — is confusing so they say — thanks for the information — beginning with the letter A. –>>L.T.Rhyme — Thirsty? Au, oui? — J.J.Rousseau [...]

    Reply
  229. Paul -  May 10, 2011 - 6:10 am

    This is a very interesting topic. I always look forward to read this section because it astounds me with its interesting pieces of research as it divulges the history of the different fields of the English Language. I am curious as to how the letter “L” came into the English alphabet. I would also like to know the etymological background of the word “alphabet”.

    Reply
  230. eyesflux -  May 10, 2011 - 4:37 am

    Would love to know abt the letter “C”

    Reply

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