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Why do lowercase letters look very different than their uppercase counterparts?

majuscule, minuscule, bodoni, r, greek, latinTake a moment and open the last email you wrote. It’s okay. We’ll wait. Now imagine if you had to write it out on paper, not with a ballpoint pen, but with a pen that you had to dip into a bowl of ink every few words. And make sure not to drip any ink on that expensive parchment. Is your wrist hurting yet?

Medieval scribes spent all day, every day transcribing text. As they were going along, writing perfectly and quickly, the shape of the letters slowly changed to be more efficient. This transformed the alphabet during the Middle Ages. It even gave us capital and lowercase letters. Curious about why we have upper and lowercase letters in the first place? They are technically called majuscule and minuscule. Learn more here.

But why do some of the lowercase letters look so different from their capital equivalents? Most of the letters fit neatly together: C c, F f, J j, H h, L l, X x, etc. But some of them barely look related, like R and r.

Well, the contemporary English alphabet is a direct descendant of the Latin alphabet, which in turn inherited some characteristics from Greek. The Greek alphabet did have lowercase letters, and some of the modern English lowercase letters are directly related to their Greek equivalents. For example, both the uppercase and the lowercase letter A look very similar to the Greek letter Alpha.

r rotunda, minuscule, majusculeBut the Greek alphabet only had 24 letters, and the Latin alphabet had just 21. Obviously, we’ve toyed with them since then. The letter R, for instance, is related to the Greek letter, Rho, which looks like our letter P. (P is not related to this letter, but to the letter Pi, which you may remember from high school geometry). Anyway, back to the slippery letter R. In the Latin alphabet, the R acquired its modern uppercase shape: R. The lowercase r, though, was still figuring itself out.

Those medieval scribes tried to write as quickly and efficiently as possible.  They developed a lowercase version of the letter r that looked a lot like its uppercase equivalent, pictured here. It was called the r rotunda. When writing, the scribes would place that letter next to letters like o, b and p that already had the left staff of the capital letter R, so the lowercase r, then, would look just like its uppercase letter.

Obviously, though, we don’t still use a lowercase r that looks like that. At this same time, another lowercase r was competing with the r rotunda. Greek letters were often written in what we’d call cursive, with the end of one letter going into the beginning of the next. From 100 to 300 A.D., Latin scribes began writing Latin in a Greek style. It was called New Roman Cursive. The New Roman Cursive version of the r is very similar to the lowercase r with which we are familiar. This r looks like part of the lower staff of the capital R and can be easily distinguished from other letters and – most importantly – written quickly.

Are there other letters that you’d like to learn about?

REGULATORS BACK $20 MILLION FINE AGAINST MET LIFE

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY) March 7, 1994 | SCOTT MAXWELL – Associated Press Issuing a warning to the nation’s insurance companies, state insurance commissioners have endorsed a $20 million fine for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

Met Life, the country’s largest life insurer, is accused of standing by as sales agents deceived tens of thousands of customers.

The company did nothing to stop its agents from misrepresenting life insurance plans as retirement plans, the commissioners said. Retirement plans are fully refundable; life insurance policies are not.

“What they did was totally unacceptable, a horrendous act,” Florida Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher said at the commissioners’ meeting here Sunday.

Met Life disagrees with the size of the proposed fine. metlifedentalnow.net met life dental

“We think $20 million would be excessive in light of the changes we have made and our offers to prevent any customer from losing a dime,” spokesman Charles Sahner says in today’s New York Times.

Met Life has proposed refunding $76 million to up to 60,000 customers nationwide. Any fine would be in addition to mandatory restitution.

Met Life has paid a total of $338,000 in fines in the previous 17 years, the Times said.

The rest of the nation’s life insurance companies should take heed, Gallagher said, calling the fine “a major, across-the-bow warning that it’s time for them to clean up their act.” The panel of 55 members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners agreed that Met Life should divide $12.5 million in fines among at least 40 state governments, Gallagher said.

The other $7.5 million in fines could be used to increase customer refunds or monitor compliance; the group had not yet decided, he said. see here met life dental

However, the NAIC lacks the authority to impose fines. If Met Life doesn’t agree to the proposal, states are free to each fine the company, Gallagher said.

It could take months to work out a final agreement, he said.

Also Sunday, a report on a Florida investigation into Met Life’s sales practices was released.

The report said Met executives did nothing to make sure customers purchased the best policy for their needs, although even a casual review should have raised a warning flag.

“Imagine the management of a national brokerage firm ignoring information that every account representative in a large office had sold only one stock, and no other stocks, to every customer of that office,” it said.

“Company executives and management chose not to correct this situation out of ignorance, incompetence or greed,” Gallagher said.

Last year, the New York-based company conducted its own investigation of sales practices in its Tampa, Fla., office, then fired several executives and refunded $12 million to customers.

SCOTT MAXWELL – Associated Press

141 Comments

  1. Tomorrowland 2014 Tickets -  March 2, 2014 - 1:15 am

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this website on a regular
    basis, this site is truly fastidious and the viewers are truly sharing pleasant
    thoughts.

    Reply
  2. Olivia -  August 12, 2012 - 5:36 pm

    um ok… dint really get that not the best one

    Reply
  3. Anilisa -  August 4, 2012 - 8:14 am

    @V-raze correct me if im wrong but i believe that The orgin of writiten languages came from cave drawings left by much earlier generations.

    Reply
  4. Dude -  July 29, 2012 - 6:13 pm

    why are b, d, p and q, the same letter flipped differently?

    Reply
  5. Gene Fellner -  July 26, 2012 - 10:59 am

    Kiko Rex: In the Pin-Yin romanization system for Mandarin, the letter Q is not an SH sound. It is a CH sound. Precisely, it is a palatal CH sound, like Russian T in “tye,” but with a stronger fricative ending. This contrasts with the Mandarin retroflex CH sound, a CH with the tongue folded back into the roof of the mouth, sounding like a CH superimposed over an R. Both of these sounds are aspirated; there should be a puff of air at the end strong enough to flap a tissue held in front of your mouth.

    Reply
  6. PearlyArtemusWhite -  July 25, 2012 - 4:18 am

    that is soo cool.
    I don’t know about the origin of letters, but i always wondered why “Atlas” a greek name of a demigod who supported the sky on his shoulders, is also our Atlas: world map.
    weird huh..

    Reply
  7. Waz up -  July 25, 2012 - 12:36 am

    Hi

    Reply
  8. Malakia Molapisi -  July 24, 2012 - 7:31 am

    Its really fascinating to know the Origin of Alphabets

    Reply
  9. WaltJ -  July 22, 2012 - 10:45 am

    Someone – was it Mark Twain? – wrote an essay suggesting that we eliminate some letters and create a completely phonetic alphabet. At first it was very hard to read but was very efficient. With text messages we seem to be heading that way. R U 4 it?

    Reply
  10. Kim -  July 22, 2012 - 2:19 am

    what about I and J? having lowercases with some sort of point above their lowercases? :D

    Reply
  11. Mazing -  July 21, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    I found it very imformative. Thanks! keep on writing helpful things like that.

    Reply
  12. Shanie -  July 20, 2012 - 2:51 pm

    What letter could i use for the shotened version of the Derek? I use L at the moment as in Del but the sound doesn’t match. DEW doesn’t work either. Any sggestions?

    Reply
  13. Ailsa -  July 19, 2012 - 6:28 am

    Different than = incorrect
    Different FROM = correct

    Reply
  14. girl -  July 18, 2012 - 10:37 am

    I get to know more about english due to this awesome site.Thank you dictionary.com. Tell us more a bout similies like :) :( :P B) :X :* Let us know more.

    Reply
  15. Fireflies -  July 18, 2012 - 7:35 am

    This is really cool! I’m a nut who loves stories of how stuff came to be and originated – really interesting!

    Reply
  16. Fireflies -  July 18, 2012 - 7:34 am

    This is an intriguing article. Very interesting!

    Reply
  17. Smith -  July 15, 2012 - 9:42 am

    I Googled pictures of New Roman Cursive and the lowercase r and the lowercase s look very similar to me. How did they distinguish them?

    Reply
  18. Vicky Ortiz -  July 15, 2012 - 7:35 am

    I’d like to buy the book that has all this info. Title of the book?
    ISBN? I have no time to read all this on the Internet.

    Thanks much.

    Reply
  19. Panda -  July 14, 2012 - 8:26 am

    Cool!!

    :) :D :P

    Reply
  20. Tom Seleck's Ulcer -  July 13, 2012 - 9:53 pm

    What about Princes symbol name?
    Can *ANYONE* (even Prince) explain that symbolic monstrosity?

    On a side note: AMY DAVIDSON (8 simple rules) IS A HOTTIE REDHEAD.

    Reply
  21. Mesele Jiru -  July 13, 2012 - 11:04 am

    I would like to know historical background of W and V,may W be the descendent of V or vice versa… Italians.Thank you!

    Reply
  22. Shadow Rider -  April 30, 2012 - 1:43 am

    It was interesting! I liked it! :)

    Reply
  23. OnceInABlueMoon -  April 24, 2012 - 3:51 pm

    I am fascinated by the fact that b is a reflection of d, d is a rotation of p, p is a reflection of q, and q is a rotation of b. Why?

    Reply
  24. Gabrielle -  April 11, 2012 - 1:28 am

    KAOS IN CE KLASRUM

    You must often have thought English spelling is unnecessarily
    difficult. Just look at words like Cough, Plough, Rough, Through and
    Thorough. The great writer, Bernard Shaw, wanted us to change our
    alphabet, and someone worked out this way of doing it.
    In the first year, for example, we would suggest using ”s” instead
    of soft ”c.” Sertianly all students in all sites of the land would
    reseive this news with joy. Then the hard ”c” would be replased by
    ”k,” sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this
    klear up the konfusion in the minds of spellers, but keyboards
    kould all be built with one less letter.
    There would be great exsitement when it was at last announsed
    that the troublesome ”ph” would henseforth be written ”f.” This
    would make words like Fotograf twenty per sent shorter in print.
    In the third year publik interest in a new alfabet kan be expekted
    to have reatshed a point where more komplkated tshanges are
    nesessary. We would suggest removing double leters whitsh have
    always ben a nuisanse and a deterent to akurate speling.
    We would al agre that the horible mes of silent ”e’s” in our
    language is disgraseful. Therfor, we kould drop thes and kontinu to
    read and writ merily along as though we wer in an atomik ag of
    edukation. Sins by this tim it would be four years sins anywun had
    used the leter ”c,” we would then sugest substituting ”c” for ”th.”
    Kontinuingcis proses year after year, we would eventuali hav a
    reali sensibl writen languag. After twenti years wi ventyur tu sa
    cer wud bi no mor uv ces teribl trublsum difikultis. Even Mr.
    Yaw wi beliv wud be hapi in ce noleg cat his drims finali kam tru.

    Reply
  25. misty kammerman -  March 25, 2012 - 9:02 am

    there are two books on words and alphabets. one is called Alpha to Omega, and the other is ABCedarium. I think. the second one is on the Roman alphabet and words. and then there is the book The Mother Tongue which has all kinds of offbeat interesting info on words and the alphabet.

    Reply
  26. mary torres so swagging -  March 8, 2012 - 11:47 am

    hi people !

    Reply
  27. thomas jefferson -  March 7, 2012 - 7:41 am

    indubitably

    Reply
  28. Cuimris -  March 3, 2012 - 8:13 am

    To Ydnic: Two things: 1) Puzzling that you should be seemingly celebrating the dissolution of cursive writing by the Anglo-Saxons. Personally, I find it deplorable. Such a shame that our grandparents were so capable of writing so beautifully, something we have been denied by a poorer education. Incidentally, as far as I know, nations such as Germany, Austria and Russia continue to teach their children cursive writing; in the case of Germany, from grade one.
    2) If you look at ancient Latin inscriptions, you will notice that the letter ‘u’ is not vsed at all; ‘Julius’ wovld have been written ‘Jvlivs’. I don’t know the details, but just looking at the form of the letter ‘w’, you can put two and two together to guess how that letter got its name centuries ago.

    Reply
  29. mary torres -  February 22, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    LOL IM BORD

    Reply
  30. $nokey Torres -  February 22, 2012 - 9:24 am

    me to i really want 2 see project x

    Reply
  31. Lauren -  February 21, 2012 - 5:25 pm

    Great article!

    Reply
  32. mary torres -  February 21, 2012 - 10:24 am

    @HEHUM COOL :)

    Reply
  33. hehum -  February 20, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    @mary torres, I would imagine if a new letter was created it would take the place of the, t-h combination. and would be similar to the name of some arabic letter.

    Reply
  34. mary torres -  February 19, 2012 - 3:29 pm

    I LOV EMA HATERS LOL :)

    Reply
  35. me8 -  February 18, 2012 - 2:39 pm

    @Holly Hough:
    Don’t hate. I actually find it quite interesting to learn about the history of the alphabet, but if you don’t, that’s fine. Just don’t go making fun of what other people enjoy, or you’re going to find yourself in a lot of trouble someday after mocking the wrong person. Besides, you read this article and commented on it, so how lonely are you?
    Let me ask you this: How lonely do you have to be to enjoy watching reality TV shows about regular people’s personal lives?

    Reply
  36. mary torres -  February 17, 2012 - 10:25 am

    WHATS UR FAVORIT MOVEI? I CANT WAIT TO SEE PROJECT x THAT LOOKS SOOOO FUNNY

    Reply
  37. Ziggy -  February 17, 2012 - 9:31 am

    Interesting article, but I wish it had been just a tad bit more explanatory.

    Reply
  38. Liz -  February 16, 2012 - 7:36 am

    This was a very interesting article and I feel you should do weekly reports on all of them. I think the formation of our written language is often overlooked in history lessons.

    Reply
  39. Chelle -  February 14, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    @ Socrates Speaking of “Jesus” …why do we insist on calling him Jesus at all? His name, in His own language and at the time of His birth was (as closely as we can translate into current American English from the original Hebrew/Aramaic) “Yeshua bin Joseph” (Yeshua son of Joseph) which is similar in root and pronunciation to the Hebrew/Aramaic Joshua …yet we call Him Jesus, Immanuel, Yaweh, etc. He is also thought to have spoken Greek, from which Christ arises (pardon the pun.) I bring this all up NOT, I repeat NOT to start a religious debate, but only as a follow-up to your post and as a word/name conundrum of the ages I find absolutely fascinating! : )

    Reply
  40. Chelle -  February 14, 2012 - 4:18 pm

    I will never understand how capital Q turns into a number 2 (kind of) in cursive writing. That always seemed stupid, as does the capital Z being that bumpy ugly thing. I’m all for making my own letters as I write, as I freely do. I am a font FANATIC…being a true philophile and bibliophile as well. I suppose I should add “fontophile” to the list as well. Did I mention I also like making up words? Note: I make up sensible words, not nonsense words, which would be a sign of mental illness. ; )

    Reply
  41. sherryyu -  February 14, 2012 - 1:30 pm

    i didnt now that

    Reply
  42. cideforexodus -  February 13, 2012 - 11:34 pm

    @ Holly – Au contrair, most of civilization enjoy soaking up knowlege in any shape or form. I think your feelings are valid but do not wish to hear about them. If you do not like the post, why bother reading it and stating your opinion?
    @ dr. smith – Thank you for being so pensive and sharing that information. I enjoyed reading this. Perhaps many years from now there will be no letter “C”. All who wanted it gone will be able to laugh about the time they complained about it. Some of you might even miss it.

    Reply
  43. Raye -  February 13, 2012 - 7:50 pm

    Could we learn about the letter Qq? Or Zz perhaps?

    Reply
  44. Socrates -  February 13, 2012 - 7:42 pm

    George Ch asked: “I would like to know why the alphabet is in its particular order. Why does A come before B which comes before C, and so on?”

    On reason could be, that “alphabet” is easier to pronounce than “beta-alph”. It also sounds better for Jesus to say: “I am the Alpha (in lieu of Beta or X,Y,Z) and the Omega”, don’t you think?

    For other, and perhaps even more cogent reasons, you may have to ask Big Bird.

    Reply
  45. Ydnic -  February 13, 2012 - 6:26 pm

    @ralph… yep, as a WWF/scrabble player, I’ve learned quite a few words that use ‘Q’ without the following ‘U.’ As you said, ‘Qi,’ but also ‘Qat,’ ‘Qantan,’ ‘Qalam,’ ‘Qaf,’ etc… perhaps words not used regularly in everyday English, but actual words just the same! (They’re defined here on Dictionary.com ;-)

    As a bibliophile, I’ve read countless books in my time, and I’ve met several specialists who can date a manuscript by observing the way the letters are scribed. Although it may not be obvious during one’s lifetime, written characters will–like everything–continue to evolve. As the scribes mentioned in the article, handwriting can be tiring. A simple three-page handwritten note–written in one setting, by any of us today–might begin with a steady hand and clear print, but, toward the closing of the note I’ll bet that the characters are less crisp and clear. Since cursive is evolving out of common usage, who knows how a particular letter might be written a century from now?

    I’m reminded of my mom’s curly cursive writing… her generation uses so many curly appendages it’s sometimes hard to tell a ‘C’ from an ‘E’! I think ‘C’ and ‘E’ appear more defined when printed compared to that oddly, outdated cursive most of learned in school! But, as an aside… isn’t it incredible that all of us can recognize the handwriting of a loved one? Freaky.

    Lastly, I’m curious about ‘U’ and ‘W.’ Or phonetically… ‘u’ and double ‘u.’ There are myriad instances where English uses ‘double’ letters… ‘ee,’ ‘mm,’ ‘dd,’ ‘tt,’ so how did ‘u’ get double the usage in our alphabet? Weird.

    Reply
  46. ESL -  February 13, 2012 - 6:21 pm

    Interesting. How about letters like G and Q?

    Reply
  47. Taylor -  February 13, 2012 - 5:35 pm

    Messed that up huh? It’s *interesting and *the. Also before i click enter i wanted to say when i read the title/question i never ever thought of it like that, i would just write, but now i know i’ve got the write stuff.LOL

    (Taylor’s opinion if u don’t like it u better f**k off my work! Thank u very much) Not trying to be mean, but i’m just saying.

    Reply
  48. cassie cross -  February 13, 2012 - 5:19 pm

    This was a very facinating article

    Reply
  49. Taylor -  February 13, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    This was really intesting. Love it! I got thhe the write stuff now, lol!

    Reply
  50. fufuthepenguin -  February 13, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    This article was actually very interesting…

    Reply
  51. Sue -  February 13, 2012 - 3:34 pm

    Everything you want to know about our 26 letter Alphabet can be found in a really cool book (not “dry”, but interesting with a sense of humour from start to finish) entitled “Letter Perfect” by David Sacks, sub titled ‘the marvellous history of our alphabet from A to Z’ isbn# 0-7679-1173-3

    I am not related to him or anything, I just loved reading it and it has pictures too!

    Reply
  52. J-Wu33 -  February 13, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Say what???

    Reply
  53. Jordan -  February 13, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    @Joshuae Wouldn’t DERF be a number? And how would you pronounce it anyway? It would be a cool letter, though…

    Reply
  54. kob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    the Greek alphabet only had 24 letters, and the Latin alphabet had just 21. Obviously, we’ve toyed with them since then. The letter R, for instance, is related to the Greek letter, Rho, which looks like our letter P. (P is not related to this letter, but to the letter Pi, which you may remember from high school geometry). Anyway, back to the slippery letter R. In the Latin alphabet, the R acquired its modern uppercase shape: R. The lowercase r, though, was still figuring itself out.
    Those medieval scribes tried to write as quickly and efficiently as possible. They developed a lowercase version of the letter r that looked a lot like its uppercase equivalent, pictured here. It was called the r rotunda. When writing, the scribes would place that letter next to letters like o, b and p that already had the left staff of the capital letter R, so the lowercase r, then, would look just like its uppercase letter.
    Obviously, though, we don’t still use a lowercase r that looks like that. At this same time, another lowercase r was competing with the r rotunda. Greek letters were often written in what we’d call cursive, with the end of one letter going into the beginning of the next. From 100 to 300 A.D., Latin scribes began writing Latin in a Greek style. It was called New Roman Cursive. The New Roman Cursive version of the r is very similar to the lowercase r with which we are familiar. This r looks like part of the lower staff of the capital R and can be easily distinguished from other letters and – most importantly – written quickly.

    Reply
  55. kob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    took me an hour and a half to write that so dont pay any attention

    Reply
  56. kob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    How about Q? Why does it have that weird tongue thing? And I think it’d be interesting to learn where the other letters of the alphabet came from (“the Greek alphabet only had 24 letters, and the Latin alphabet had just 21. Obviously, we’ve toyed with them since then”)
    mary torres on February 11, 2012 at 6:02 pm
    i would love to learn a new letter but even if someone made a new letter what would it be ?
    wow. . . on February 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    wow
    sa on February 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    what about M?
    Yoon on February 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm
    Fail
    Albert James on February 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm
    How did we create different styles to write the same letters? Some people write the “g” with a straight tail, others with an oval tail. Once the language stabilized into the characters we use today, how did different fonts come about without the new ways of forming the letters turn to mean completely different sounds or evolve to have conditional cases like “use this type of y only next to vowels, and write this type of y when placed next to consonants”?
    Harry Mason on February 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    !!! My family is my misfortune !!! ABH/DDH
    Aubriella on February 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm
    I’d like to know how we got the cursive handwriting. This was an interesting article.
    yayRayShell on February 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm
    I would like to learn about the letter A and T.
    Mostly A because why would it have a different looking lowercase letter and have two different ways of writing it. Because unlike the computer, many people, like me, write it with just a little tale at the end.
    Oh and for T I was wondering why the uppercase would not have the line sticking through and the lowercase one would.
    I actually think it’s better for upper and lowercase letters to look different because some people with illegible writing will amok other people confused.
    Pallavi on February 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    Fascinating to know the origins of alphabets… each deriving from the other set in mysterious ways! but then again, it’s the universal rule of necessity and efficiency that’s guided human endeavors: be it writing or engineering!
    Bron on February 12, 2012 at 3:54 am
    What are some sounds/letters that feature in other languages but not in English?
    Baker on February 12, 2012 at 6:39 am
    Not really that informative. Leaves the reader with more questions than before reading the article.
    Lozzahottie on February 12, 2012 at 6:48 am
    I would like to know what the point of q is if you need another letter to make words with it, and you always need a u x
    Parker on February 12, 2012 at 6:57 am
    The abstruent J would make an interesting subject. What is its written and also is phonetic history?
    d on February 12, 2012 at 7:53 am
    wow what About D and d
    Lucy on February 12, 2012 at 8:07 am
    That looks like 2
    Lucy on February 12, 2012 at 8:11 am
    I wanna know about Q like constancebonacieux
    1)About the tongue thingy
    2)About its resemblance to g.In writing,that is.
    What about B??
    Ellie on February 12, 2012 at 8:26 am
    Why we have to have a lowercase AND an uppercase. Why couldn’t we just have a lowercase? Why do we really need an uppercase?
    Chocolate Lover on February 12, 2012 at 8:33 am
    Wow! never realized that until now actually
    Milan on February 12, 2012 at 9:03 am
    It is fascinating to study and contemplate the those languages with unique alphabets differing from ours especially the ancient ones. The Hebrew alphabet, for example, also used in Yiddish, employs no majuscules or minuscules but five of the letters differ when used at the ends of words and flows from right to left. German uses some extra letters with diacritical marks and a special form of “s” (not used as initial letters) pronounced as our s but the regular s is like our z, while w is voiced as our v and our v is like an f in English.
    Thanks so much for broaching the subject.
    Tom on February 12, 2012 at 9:10 am
    You didn’t go far enough about the letter r. My elderly parents and their generation made the lowercase r in cursive much differently than their kids were taught. Their very attractive version probably could be found as part of the capital R with the left side coming from the previous letter. There is no way on this keyboard to show the cursive lowercase r which so many of us (those who still use any cursive at all instead of printing everything) use today, but everyone knows that it looks similar to a lowercase n. Any explanation why we do not use that version today?
    moreRANDR | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com on February 12, 2012 at 9:16 am
    [...] ‘Randr’, More or Less, ‘majuscule’ or ‘miniscule’. — Linked Together — Cursive Capital, unscripted, — Wit the Cyberquill where we all sing ‘Stormy Weather’. — Often Otherwise depicted. — The ‘Blue R’, ‘the letter H’:– The Timeline of all that is written. — The ‘RandR’ befuddles us troglodytes. — Throwing caution to the Windows, — Ungrammatically bitten. — Universal Equal Rights. — And Free speech Wit Da Nachos. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]
    Greg on February 12, 2012 at 9:30 am
    I thought it was a great text. History and funny comments mixed together made it not too boring. But remember this: Keep it up, but not too much or you’ll seem dorky, geeky, a moron, like a few people that commented here. But as I already said, keep it up!
    George Ch. on February 12, 2012 at 9:36 am
    I would like to know why the alphabet is in its particular order. Why does A come before B which comes before C, and so on? And why are the vowels scatterd throughout?
    Terris Grimes on February 12, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Love this!
    blingbling on February 12, 2012 at 9:40 am
    cool beans. thats weird…
    Pat from Tampa on February 12, 2012 at 9:41 am
    If we had another letter, it would be the letter GUMF, which would be written with a crossed upright part like a “t” but also a dot over it like an “i.” It would always be silent, but would be inserted into words in the English language at random because we don’t have enough extra letters in there to begin with.
    Actually, we should get rid of “c” because it uses the “k” or “s” sound and doesn’t have one of its own. We should also get rid of “x” because eksray just looks cooler and they should be the Eks Men run by Professor Zahviay (the correct way to pronounce Xavier).
    So there!
    v-raze on February 12, 2012 at 10:10 am
    What I want to know is: we know how the modern alphabet came to be, but how did the Greek and Latin alphabets get created? Do we even know? how did original language develop?
    If you ACTUALLY know or partially know, please post an answer and where you found it.
    Ian Mallett on February 12, 2012 at 10:14 am
    different “from”
    mary torres on February 12, 2012 at 10:27 am
    lol
    ******** on February 12, 2012 at 11:25 am
    wow
    ********=abdullah on February 12, 2012 at 11:29 am
    wow i like this
    JJ in Chula Vista, CA on February 12, 2012 at 11:49 am
    I agree with those who suggest that “c” and “x” are unnecessary letters in the English language, while at the same time recognizing that the “ch”, “sh”, both “th” sounds, and the “zh” sound (like in the word “vision”) are so common and so distinct that they really should have their own written characters.
    Vicaari on February 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm
    Forgive my audacity. Very must interested to learn about the #s now please, and their origin.
    Very intersting article; enjoyed it tremendously.
    @ Constancebonacieux: Q has “weird tongue thing (or tongue thingy, as posed by Lucy) so that it [Q] would not be confused w/ O!!!
    @ Tom: There are times when I write cursive, say rather, second r automatically becomes like that, as you mentioned, I assume; it does look like lowercase/miniscule n. Now Tom if you kindly notice the capital/majescule letter R, notice the lower part–not part of O– of this R, and does it look like to you! There! See does it look like n, well, kind of.
    @ Everybody: The r Tom mentioned:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gandhi_handwriting.jpg
    woshaw on February 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm
    Im Naruto!!!! Believe It!!
    Mackenzie on February 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm
    how bout the letter ‘g?’
    Joshuae on February 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm
    If anyone here watched iCarly, you’ll probably call me a copycat.
    I think if we had another letter, it would be DERF. It would be a backwards “4″ with a lowercase “p” on the bottom.
    Oh, and I also agree with Ellie. If we didn’t have lowercase as well as uppercase, the world would be much better. We wouldn’t be yelled at by our literacy teachers everytime we forgot to capitalize the beginnings of sentences.
    27’s also my lucky number, so we should have 27 letters in our alphabet instead of 26. Vote on which one is better. “DERF” by yours truly, or “GUMP” by Pat from Tampa?
    danni on February 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    @ yayRayShell
    the capital T probably doesn’t have a little tail above it like it’s lowercase counterpart because then it could be confused with a christian cross – that’s MY guess, but I don’t know if it’s anywhere close haha.
    Abraham on February 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm
    This article and comments are, undoubtedly, quite expository. Thanks for the ‘pains’ at all quarters.
    Q-dog on February 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    The letter “Q” doesn’t have a “weird tongue thing.” It is an ellipse with its long side perpendicular to the paper line and a short line segment bisecting its lower right side, extending inwards about 8% of the total ellipse circumference and outwards about 10% of the total ellipse circumference. “Q” has more personality than most of the other letters in its line segment alone, so show some respect, got that? Insolent little dweeb.
    Quest on February 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm
    I would also like to know more about the letter Q. The lowercase counterpart to this looks incredibly different. I’m also interested in knowing if there was once a relation to the letter O.
    Kiko Rex on February 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm
    To Pat and mary torres, I’d say that we should add a letter that’s in use in the Russian/Cyrillic alphabet that has a sound sometimes used in English but not well-written or automatically understood on paper: Ж
    This letter has a sound like “zya,” and the sound may be heard in names like “Zsa Zsa Gabor” and words like “pleasure.” I’ve seen the sound sometimes written as “zh,” but I’m doubting most people would pronounce it the “zya” way upon seeing “zs.”
    As for what you were saying, Pat, the Cyrillic alphabet agrees with you, too. There is no “c,” and no “x,” so names like my last (Rex) are transliterated as “Reks.” They even have a neat letter that represents the “ts” sound in “cats.”
    Kiko Rex on February 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm
    “zs” above should read “zh;” oops!
    And also, the Russians do have an “x” but it pronounces a completely different sound than our “ks,” which is more like the German “ch.” Maybe we could use it, after all.
    Kiko Rex on February 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm
    Ha ha, one more thing; the uselessness of the letter Q could be eliminated if we’d use “Q” as they do in Chinese pinyin: as the “sh” sound. Better than using two letters, eh?
    JJRousseau on February 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    OuiB.
    TETO on February 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    When I moved to Calif. from Iowa I had to relearn how to write cursive “r”. Mine looked much like the one above and my name had two “r’s” in it. The new one was ugly by comparison. Then the seventh grade work was a repeat of my 6th grade work in Iowa. Playing “jacks” was entirely different so I was no longer a champ. We went to school in “tents”, because of the recent earth quake, and we cooked in summer. Poooor Meeee!!!!
    TETO on February 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    I left Iowa 77 years ago on Feb. 6th. Do they still write a pretty “r” ?
    ME on February 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm
    How about “A” in upper and lower case? Those are very different. Also, in the lower case “a,” why do some have the upper hook – as in this font – and some don’t, as in Comic Sans? Did this “a” develop as did the lower case “r”? I would imagine so. Then, why does the “a” with the top hook (which I prefer) still exist?
    ME on February 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Oops, I see someone had already mentioned “A” and I’d overlooked it.
    Holly Hough on February 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm
    Why would people want to know about the history of a letter? Yes, I will admit, learning history is quite fun, but about letters?
    I have had my fair share of history lessons from my school years, and I don’t find it interesting at all to read an article about the alphabet.
    Let me ask you this one question:
    How lonely do you have to be to enjoy reading articles about the alphabet?
    ralph on February 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm
    @ Lozzahottie: If you played Scrabble, you would know that Q does NOT always need to be followed by a “U”! Case in point: the word QI. Look it up!
    Ashley on February 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm
    We could certainly get rid of the letter C. We could add quite a number of letters though.
    First, there is the fact that all of our vowels make several sounds. Then we wouldn’t have to do things like double the m in swimming to keep the first i from changing sounds. We could also tell the difference between present tense “read” and past tense “read” with out the context.
    Then there are the two sounds made by “th” and the one sound made by “sh” “ti” and “ci” (as in sheet, station and suspicion), and the sound made by “ch” (except in the word chorus, when it just makes a k sound).
    There are many more options, but we can’t do this anymore because of obvious reasons such as everything needing to be re-written, future generations not being able to read any of our books and the global use of English.
    Back to the letter C though. When a c is followed by e, i, or y (like cereal, city, or cylinder) it makes an s sound, but when it’s followed by a, o, or u (like cat, coat, or curve). Why is that the rule? How did that come to be?
    Ashley on February 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm
    amendment
    . . . but when it’s followed by a, o, or u, why does it make the k sound?
    Nadeem on February 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm
    Wonderfull
    Nitrostreak on February 13, 2012 at 12:31 am
    This has nothing to do with “Mrs…”
    Why was I redirected here?
    ??? on February 13, 2012 at 12:50 am
    It doesn’t make any sense
    ??? on February 13, 2012 at 12:51 am
    Anyways, Who are you Mr Dictionary
    Modowan-chan on February 13, 2012 at 1:16 am
    kooooooooooooool! thanks, dictionary ppl! I’m improving in my English! one more thing, what does the # thing mean? D:
    Rachel on February 13, 2012 at 1:21 am
    @Lucy Indeed it does! I was like “ooh right”
    Andy Green on February 13, 2012 at 2:22 am
    I find the comments here more interesting than the article itself. I study Japanese and Korean and am on my way for more thorough studies on linguistics – maybe I will learn more on the origins of these characters from everywhere in Asia.
    But it’s just as interesting to consider where the letters I use in the languages I use everyday (French and English) come from. I’d like to know more… I especially wonder, like George Ch., why the alphabet is in the order we know.
    Fascinating topic!
    Puggle on February 13, 2012 at 2:44 am
    @ Lozzahottie
    “I would like to know what the point of q is if you need another letter to make words with it, and you always need a u x”…
    No, you don’t always need a ‘u’ after a ‘q’. My sons name has an ‘a’ after the ‘q’, and no ‘u’ at all. There are other examples now assimilated into the English language.
    You could really get carried away with ‘unnecessary’ letters used in combinations – e.g. ‘ck’ (back, flack, acknowledge, etc…), Many of the ’silent’ letters are needed solely to give an indication for pronunciation – e.g. ‘knowledge’ would sound like ‘now – ledge’ without the ‘k’, but probably closer if you dropped the ‘w’ and ‘d’ also = ‘nolege”.
    Forget about ‘txt speak’ – let’s just hone down the unnecessarily long words, throw out a ton of silent letters (like the Americans do), and simplify the world of reading for future generations.
    ymohi on February 13, 2012 at 3:01 am
    Actually, I didn’t get the point that R and r are close to each other, I think it is quite different.
    The author could have given the examples of other letter which are really similar in both the upper and lower case; such as, C and C, F and f, J and j, K and k, O and o, P and p, S and s, U and u, V and v, W and w, X and x, Y and y, Z and z.
    Kenson on February 13, 2012 at 3:58 am
    I like this learning
    Spike on February 13, 2012 at 4:35 am
    Pat from Tampa, we would still need c for the “ch” sound. Unless, of course, we gave the “ch” sound its own letter…which would pretty much defeat the purpose of getting rid of the c.
    Kendal on February 13, 2012 at 4:44 am
    I’ve noticed in France (where I am now) they write some letters completely different in cursive. M is practically unrecognizable to me, and the lowercase r looks funny too. Why is that?
    Chris Dabreo on February 13, 2012 at 6:35 am
    Mind = Blown!
    I’d like to hear more about Aa & Gg, and maybe Nn.
    cooky on February 13, 2012 at 6:40 am
    Yeah, what about X? We can just spell it eks. And C too.
    JOE MOMA! on February 13, 2012 at 7:27 am
    from*
    Fallon on February 13, 2012 at 7:28 am
    X makes everything look cooler. Eksavier doesn’t look as cool, and besides, using x makes stuff shorter. As for c, I don’t see its purpose either, but it’s a cute little curve that’s just there. Not meaning to offend or anything, but our alphabet is fine the way it is.
    Curtis on February 13, 2012 at 8:22 am
    Today’s Hot Word is sponsored by the letter “R”.
    Maureen on February 13, 2012 at 8:34 am
    Great work—but I understand kids will no longer be learning cursive in schools. Who will keep the art alive?
    Vicaari on February 13, 2012 at 11:02 am
    Again I notice the same… I wrote so much or so many yesterday, Sunday 12th of February 2012…I find nothing of mine. I did mention to sm1 b4 about this, however, who cares. Thus is my lot, thus is ours and thus is so on and so forth when it comes to the ppl who are so very educted know how to use their own ppl and how bud in and do these types of VIOLENCE!!! Furthermore their functions only from the back. Isn’t that something! Shall I be allowed to say shame or that’s the rule of the system here if this is the way how it goes, what are doing here!
    Next I wonder for how long it’s been going on, for I know I have been ….I don’t kniow how or all mine they have eliminated that many I have contributed to this blog and though I began only the other day still quite a few. Then what to do if this is the strategy/tactics they know how employ (They = UofT). Shall I check each HOT WORDs? It would be useless and exhausting …to one, me, vs HUNDREDs, them
    I even wrote to a couple of other participants as well; I am curious what they have to say… I find my comment to hot ward and to others not there @ all! (I did receive smkind of smthing b4… Now it is up to the higher ppl acting from back decision….)
    I am hurt as I must be then again I know it would be futile,for am sure even this writing too they will intercept, and discard or something b/c they very smart at it
    dr. smith on February 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm
    i am a doctor of words. if you would like to learn how to spell everything using my trick, click on my name.
    dr. smith on February 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm
    The term letter, borrowed from Old French lettre, entered Middle English around AD 1200, eventually displacing the native English term bocstaf (i.e. bookstaff). Letter derives ultimately from Latin littera, itself of unknown origin. The Middle English plural lettres could refer to an epistle or written document, reflecting the use of the Latin plural litteræ. Use of the singular letter to refer to a written document emerges in the 14th century.
    As symbols that denote segmental speech, letters are associated with phonetics. In a purely phonemic alphabet, a single phoneme is denoted by a single letter, but in history and practice letters often denote more than one phoneme. A pair of letters designating a single phoneme is called a digraph. Examples of digraphs in English include “ch”, “sh” and “th”. A phoneme can also be represented by three letters, called a trigraph. An example is the combination “sch” in German.
    A letter may also be associated with more than one phoneme, with the phoneme depending on the surrounding letters or etymology of the word. As an example of positional effects, the Spanish letter c is pronounced [k] before a, o, or u (e.g. cantar, corto, cuidado), but is pronounced [θ] before e or i (e.g. centimo, ciudad).
    Letters also have specific names associated with them. These names may differ with language, dialect and history. Z, for example, is usually called zed in all English-speaking countries except the U.S., where it is named zee.
    Letters, as elements of alphabets, have prescribed orders. This may generally be known as “alphabetical order” though collation is the science devoted to the complex task of ordering and sorting of letters and words in different languages. In Spanish, for instance, ñ is a separate letter being sorted after n. In English, n and ñ are sorted alike.
    Josh on February 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    wow that was pretty interesting… dont get really how they put it next to the b and d tho….
    kob on February 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm
    Again I notice the same… I wrote so much or so many yesterday, Sunday 12th of February 2012…I find nothing of mine. I did mention to sm1 b4 about this, however, who cares. Thus is my lot, thus is ours and thus is so on and so forth when it comes to the ppl who are so very educted know how to use their own ppl and how bud in and do these types of VIOLENCE!!! Furthermore their functions only from the back. Isn’t that something! Shall I be allowed to say shame or that’s the rule of the system here if this is the way how it goes, what are doing here!
    Next I wonder for how long it’s been going on, for I know I have been ….I don’t kniow how or all mine they have eliminated that many I have contributed to this blog and though I began only the other day still quite a few. Then what to do if this is the strategy/tactics they know how employ (They = UofT). Shall I check each HOT WORDs? It would be useless and exhausting …to one, me, vs HUNDREDs, them
    I even wrote to a couple of other participants as well; I am curious what they have to say… I find my comment to hot ward and to others not there @ all! (I did receive smkind of smthing b4… Now it is up to the higher ppl acting from back decision….)
    I am hurt as I must be then again I know it would be futile,for am sure even this writing too they will intercept, and discard or something b/c they very smart at it

    Reply
  57. kob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Again I notice the same… I wrote so much or so many yesterday, Sunday 12th of February 2012…I find nothing of mine. I did mention to sm1 b4 about this, however, who cares. Thus is my lot, thus is ours and thus is so on and so forth when it comes to the ppl who are so very educted know how to use their own ppl and how bud in and do these types of VIOLENCE!!! Furthermore their functions only from the back. Isn’t that something! Shall I be allowed to say shame or that’s the rule of the system here if this is the way how it goes, what are doing here!
    Next I wonder for how long it’s been going on, for I know I have been ….I don’t kniow how or all mine they have eliminated that many I have contributed to this blog and though I began only the other day still quite a few. Then what to do if this is the strategy/tactics they know how employ (They = UofT). Shall I check each HOT WORDs? It would be useless and exhausting …to one, me, vs HUNDREDs, them
    I even wrote to a couple of other participants as well; I am curious what they have to say… I find my comment to hot ward and to others not there @ all! (I did receive smkind of smthing b4… Now it is up to the higher ppl acting from back decision….)
    I am hurt as I must be then again I know it would be futile,for am sure even this writing too they will intercept, and discard or something b/c they very smart at it

    Reply
  58. sob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    The term letter, borrowed from Old French lettre, entered Middle English around AD 1200, eventually displacing the native English term bocstaf (i.e. bookstaff). Letter derives ultimately from Latin littera, itself of unknown origin. The Middle English plural lettres could refer to an epistle or written document, reflecting the use of the Latin plural litteræ. Use of the singular letter to refer to a written document emerges in the 14th century.
    As symbols that denote segmental speech, letters are associated with phonetics. In a purely phonemic alphabet, a single phoneme is denoted by a single letter, but in history and practice letters often denote more than one phoneme. A pair of letters designating a single phoneme is called a digraph. Examples of digraphs in English include “ch”, “sh” and “th”. A phoneme can also be represented by three letters, called a trigraph. An example is the combination “sch” in German.
    A letter may also be associated with more than one phoneme, with the phoneme depending on the surrounding letters or etymology of the word. As an example of positional effects, the Spanish letter c is pronounced [k] before a, o, or u (e.g. cantar, corto, cuidado), but is pronounced [θ] before e or i (e.g. centimo, ciudad).
    Letters also have specific names associated with them. These names may differ with language, dialect and history. Z, for example, is usually called zed in all English-speaking countries except the U.S., where it is named zee.
    Letters, as elements of alphabets, have prescribed orders. This may generally be known as “alphabetical order” though collation is the science devoted to the complex task of ordering and sorting of letters and words in different languages. In Spanish, for instance, ñ is a separate letter being sorted after n. In English, n and ñ are sorted alike.

    Reply
  59. bob -  February 13, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    dont get it???……………………………(^^^)

    Reply
  60. ???????????? -  February 13, 2012 - 2:23 pm

    H and h, L and l, and F and f all look different!

    Reply
  61. Cmac -  February 13, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    WOW!!! (-_-)

    Reply
  62. Josh -  February 13, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    wow that was pretty interesting… dont get really how they put it next to the b and d tho….

    Reply
  63. dr. smith -  February 13, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    The term letter, borrowed from Old French lettre, entered Middle English around AD 1200, eventually displacing the native English term bocstaf (i.e. bookstaff). Letter derives ultimately from Latin littera, itself of unknown origin. The Middle English plural lettres could refer to an epistle or written document, reflecting the use of the Latin plural litteræ. Use of the singular letter to refer to a written document emerges in the 14th century.

    As symbols that denote segmental speech, letters are associated with phonetics. In a purely phonemic alphabet, a single phoneme is denoted by a single letter, but in history and practice letters often denote more than one phoneme. A pair of letters designating a single phoneme is called a digraph. Examples of digraphs in English include “ch”, “sh” and “th”. A phoneme can also be represented by three letters, called a trigraph. An example is the combination “sch” in German.

    A letter may also be associated with more than one phoneme, with the phoneme depending on the surrounding letters or etymology of the word. As an example of positional effects, the Spanish letter c is pronounced [k] before a, o, or u (e.g. cantar, corto, cuidado), but is pronounced [θ] before e or i (e.g. centimo, ciudad).

    Letters also have specific names associated with them. These names may differ with language, dialect and history. Z, for example, is usually called zed in all English-speaking countries except the U.S., where it is named zee.

    Letters, as elements of alphabets, have prescribed orders. This may generally be known as “alphabetical order” though collation is the science devoted to the complex task of ordering and sorting of letters and words in different languages. In Spanish, for instance, ñ is a separate letter being sorted after n. In English, n and ñ are sorted alike.

    Reply
  64. dr. smith -  February 13, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    i am a doctor of words. if you would like to learn how to spell everything using my trick, click on my name.

    Reply
  65. Vicaari -  February 13, 2012 - 11:02 am

    Again I notice the same… I wrote so much or so many yesterday, Sunday 12th of February 2012…I find nothing of mine. I did mention to sm1 b4 about this, however, who cares. Thus is my lot, thus is ours and thus is so on and so forth when it comes to the ppl who are so very educted know how to use their own ppl and how bud in and do these types of VIOLENCE!!! Furthermore their functions only from the back. Isn’t that something! Shall I be allowed to say shame or that’s the rule of the system here if this is the way how it goes, what are doing here!

    Next I wonder for how long it’s been going on, for I know I have been ….I don’t kniow how or all mine they have eliminated that many I have contributed to this blog and though I began only the other day still quite a few. Then what to do if this is the strategy/tactics they know how employ (They = UofT). Shall I check each HOT WORDs? It would be useless and exhausting …to one, me, vs HUNDREDs, them

    I even wrote to a couple of other participants as well; I am curious what they have to say… I find my comment to hot ward and to others not there @ all! (I did receive smkind of smthing b4… Now it is up to the higher ppl acting from back decision….)

    I am hurt as I must be then again I know it would be futile,for am sure even this writing too they will intercept, and discard or something b/c they very smart at it

    Reply
  66. Maureen -  February 13, 2012 - 8:34 am

    Great work—but I understand kids will no longer be learning cursive in schools. Who will keep the art alive?

    Reply
  67. Curtis -  February 13, 2012 - 8:22 am

    Today’s Hot Word is sponsored by the letter “R”.

    Reply
  68. Fallon -  February 13, 2012 - 7:28 am

    X makes everything look cooler. Eksavier doesn’t look as cool, and besides, using x makes stuff shorter. As for c, I don’t see its purpose either, but it’s a cute little curve that’s just there. Not meaning to offend or anything, but our alphabet is fine the way it is.

    Reply
  69. cooky -  February 13, 2012 - 6:40 am

    Yeah, what about X? We can just spell it eks. And C too.

    Reply
  70. Chris Dabreo -  February 13, 2012 - 6:35 am

    Mind = Blown!

    I’d like to hear more about Aa & Gg, and maybe Nn.

    Reply
  71. Kendal -  February 13, 2012 - 4:44 am

    I’ve noticed in France (where I am now) they write some letters completely different in cursive. M is practically unrecognizable to me, and the lowercase r looks funny too. Why is that?

    Reply
  72. Spike -  February 13, 2012 - 4:35 am

    Pat from Tampa, we would still need c for the “ch” sound. Unless, of course, we gave the “ch” sound its own letter…which would pretty much defeat the purpose of getting rid of the c.

    Reply
  73. Kenson -  February 13, 2012 - 3:58 am

    I like this learning

    Reply
  74. ymohi -  February 13, 2012 - 3:01 am

    Actually, I didn’t get the point that R and r are close to each other, I think it is quite different.

    The author could have given the examples of other letter which are really similar in both the upper and lower case; such as, C and C, F and f, J and j, K and k, O and o, P and p, S and s, U and u, V and v, W and w, X and x, Y and y, Z and z.

    Reply
  75. Puggle -  February 13, 2012 - 2:44 am

    @ Lozzahottie
    “I would like to know what the point of q is if you need another letter to make words with it, and you always need a u x”…

    No, you don’t always need a ‘u’ after a ‘q’. My sons name has an ‘a’ after the ‘q’, and no ‘u’ at all. There are other examples now assimilated into the English language.

    You could really get carried away with ‘unnecessary’ letters used in combinations – e.g. ‘ck’ (back, flack, acknowledge, etc…), Many of the ‘silent’ letters are needed solely to give an indication for pronunciation – e.g. ‘knowledge’ would sound like ‘now – ledge’ without the ‘k’, but probably closer if you dropped the ‘w’ and ‘d’ also = ‘nolege”.

    Forget about ‘txt speak’ – let’s just hone down the unnecessarily long words, throw out a ton of silent letters (like the Americans do), and simplify the world of reading for future generations.

    Reply
  76. Andy Green -  February 13, 2012 - 2:22 am

    I find the comments here more interesting than the article itself. I study Japanese and Korean and am on my way for more thorough studies on linguistics – maybe I will learn more on the origins of these characters from everywhere in Asia.
    But it’s just as interesting to consider where the letters I use in the languages I use everyday (French and English) come from. I’d like to know more… I especially wonder, like George Ch., why the alphabet is in the order we know.
    Fascinating topic!

    Reply
  77. Rachel -  February 13, 2012 - 1:21 am

    @Lucy Indeed it does! :| I was like “ooh right”

    Reply
  78. Modowan-chan -  February 13, 2012 - 1:16 am

    kooooooooooooool! thanks, dictionary ppl! :D I’m improving in my English! one more thing, what does the # thing mean? D:

    Reply
  79. ??? -  February 13, 2012 - 12:51 am

    Anyways, Who are you Mr Dictionary

    Reply
  80. ??? -  February 13, 2012 - 12:50 am

    It doesn’t make any sense

    Reply
  81. Nitrostreak -  February 13, 2012 - 12:31 am

    This has nothing to do with “Mrs…”
    Why was I redirected here?

    Reply
  82. Nadeem -  February 12, 2012 - 10:59 pm

    Wonderfull

    Reply
  83. Ashley -  February 12, 2012 - 10:31 pm

    amendment
    . . . but when it’s followed by a, o, or u, why does it make the k sound?

    Reply
  84. Ashley -  February 12, 2012 - 10:29 pm

    We could certainly get rid of the letter C. We could add quite a number of letters though.

    First, there is the fact that all of our vowels make several sounds. Then we wouldn’t have to do things like double the m in swimming to keep the first i from changing sounds. We could also tell the difference between present tense “read” and past tense “read” with out the context.

    Then there are the two sounds made by “th” and the one sound made by “sh” “ti” and “ci” (as in sheet, station and suspicion), and the sound made by “ch” (except in the word chorus, when it just makes a k sound).

    There are many more options, but we can’t do this anymore because of obvious reasons such as everything needing to be re-written, future generations not being able to read any of our books and the global use of English.

    Back to the letter C though. When a c is followed by e, i, or y (like cereal, city, or cylinder) it makes an s sound, but when it’s followed by a, o, or u (like cat, coat, or curve). Why is that the rule? How did that come to be?

    Reply
  85. ralph -  February 12, 2012 - 9:41 pm

    @ Lozzahottie: If you played Scrabble, you would know that Q does NOT always need to be followed by a “U”! Case in point: the word QI. Look it up!

    Reply
  86. Holly Hough -  February 12, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    Why would people want to know about the history of a letter? Yes, I will admit, learning history is quite fun, but about letters?
    I have had my fair share of history lessons from my school years, and I don’t find it interesting at all to read an article about the alphabet.
    Let me ask you this one question:
    How lonely do you have to be to enjoy reading articles about the alphabet?

    Reply
  87. ME -  February 12, 2012 - 6:12 pm

    Oops, I see someone had already mentioned “A” and I’d overlooked it.

    Reply
  88. ME -  February 12, 2012 - 6:03 pm

    How about “A” in upper and lower case? Those are very different. Also, in the lower case “a,” why do some have the upper hook – as in this font – and some don’t, as in Comic Sans? Did this “a” develop as did the lower case “r”? I would imagine so. Then, why does the “a” with the top hook (which I prefer) still exist?

    Reply
  89. TETO -  February 12, 2012 - 4:57 pm

    I left Iowa 77 years ago on Feb. 6th. Do they still write a pretty “r” ?

    Reply
  90. TETO -  February 12, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    When I moved to Calif. from Iowa I had to relearn how to write cursive “r”. Mine looked much like the one above and my name had two “r’s” in it. The new one was ugly by comparison. Then the seventh grade work was a repeat of my 6th grade work in Iowa. Playing “jacks” was entirely different so I was no longer a champ. We went to school in “tents”, because of the recent earth quake, and we cooked in summer. Poooor Meeee!!!!

    Reply
  91. Kiko Rex -  February 12, 2012 - 2:46 pm

    Ha ha, one more thing; the uselessness of the letter Q could be eliminated if we’d use “Q” as they do in Chinese pinyin: as the “sh” sound. Better than using two letters, eh?

    Reply
  92. Kiko Rex -  February 12, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    “zs” above should read “zh;” oops!

    And also, the Russians do have an “x” but it pronounces a completely different sound than our “ks,” which is more like the German “ch.” Maybe we could use it, after all.

    Reply
  93. Kiko Rex -  February 12, 2012 - 2:41 pm

    To Pat and mary torres, I’d say that we should add a letter that’s in use in the Russian/Cyrillic alphabet that has a sound sometimes used in English but not well-written or automatically understood on paper: Ж

    This letter has a sound like “zya,” and the sound may be heard in names like “Zsa Zsa Gabor” and words like “pleasure.” I’ve seen the sound sometimes written as “zh,” but I’m doubting most people would pronounce it the “zya” way upon seeing “zs.”

    As for what you were saying, Pat, the Cyrillic alphabet agrees with you, too. There is no “c,” and no “x,” so names like my last (Rex) are transliterated as “Reks.” They even have a neat letter that represents the “ts” sound in “cats.”

    Reply
  94. Quest -  February 12, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    I would also like to know more about the letter Q. The lowercase counterpart to this looks incredibly different. I’m also interested in knowing if there was once a relation to the letter O.

    Reply
  95. Q-dog -  February 12, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    The letter “Q” doesn’t have a “weird tongue thing.” It is an ellipse with its long side perpendicular to the paper line and a short line segment bisecting its lower right side, extending inwards about 8% of the total ellipse circumference and outwards about 10% of the total ellipse circumference. “Q” has more personality than most of the other letters in its line segment alone, so show some respect, got that? Insolent little dweeb.

    Reply
  96. Abraham -  February 12, 2012 - 1:21 pm

    This article and comments are, undoubtedly, quite expository. Thanks for the ‘pains’ at all quarters.

    Reply
  97. danni -  February 12, 2012 - 1:06 pm

    @ yayRayShell
    the capital T probably doesn’t have a little tail above it like it’s lowercase counterpart because then it could be confused with a christian cross – that’s MY guess, but I don’t know if it’s anywhere close haha.

    Reply
  98. Joshuae -  February 12, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    If anyone here watched iCarly, you’ll probably call me a copycat.

    I think if we had another letter, it would be DERF. It would be a backwards “4″ with a lowercase “p” on the bottom.

    Oh, and I also agree with Ellie. If we didn’t have lowercase as well as uppercase, the world would be much better. We wouldn’t be yelled at by our literacy teachers everytime we forgot to capitalize the beginnings of sentences.

    27′s also my lucky number, so we should have 27 letters in our alphabet instead of 26. Vote on which one is better. “DERF” by yours truly, or “GUMP” by Pat from Tampa?

    Reply
  99. Mackenzie -  February 12, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    how bout the letter ‘g?’

    Reply
  100. woshaw -  February 12, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    Im Naruto!!!! Believe It!!

    Reply
  101. Vicaari -  February 12, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    Forgive my audacity. Very must interested to learn about the #s now please, and their origin.

    Very intersting article; enjoyed it tremendously.

    @ Constancebonacieux: Q has “weird tongue thing (or tongue thingy, as posed by Lucy) so that it [Q] would not be confused w/ O!!!

    @ Tom: There are times when I write cursive, say rather, second r automatically becomes like that, as you mentioned, I assume; it does look like lowercase/miniscule n. Now Tom if you kindly notice the capital/majescule letter R, notice the lower part–not part of O– of this R, and does it look like to you! There! See does it look like n, well, kind of.

    @ Everybody: The r Tom mentioned:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gandhi_handwriting.jpg

    Reply
  102. JJ in Chula Vista, CA -  February 12, 2012 - 11:49 am

    I agree with those who suggest that “c” and “x” are unnecessary letters in the English language, while at the same time recognizing that the “ch”, “sh”, both “th” sounds, and the “zh” sound (like in the word “vision”) are so common and so distinct that they really should have their own written characters.

    Reply
  103. ********=abdullah -  February 12, 2012 - 11:29 am

    wow i like this

    Reply
  104. ******** -  February 12, 2012 - 11:25 am

    wow

    Reply
  105. mary torres -  February 12, 2012 - 10:27 am

    lol :)

    Reply
  106. Ian Mallett -  February 12, 2012 - 10:14 am

    different “from”

    Reply
  107. v-raze -  February 12, 2012 - 10:10 am

    What I want to know is: we know how the modern alphabet came to be, but how did the Greek and Latin alphabets get created? Do we even know? how did original language develop?

    If you ACTUALLY know or partially know, please post an answer and where you found it.

    Reply
  108. Pat from Tampa -  February 12, 2012 - 9:41 am

    If we had another letter, it would be the letter GUMF, which would be written with a crossed upright part like a “t” but also a dot over it like an “i.” It would always be silent, but would be inserted into words in the English language at random because we don’t have enough extra letters in there to begin with. :)

    Actually, we should get rid of “c” because it uses the “k” or “s” sound and doesn’t have one of its own. We should also get rid of “x” because eksray just looks cooler and they should be the Eks Men run by Professor Zahviay (the correct way to pronounce Xavier).

    So there!

    Reply
  109. blingbling -  February 12, 2012 - 9:40 am

    cool beans. thats weird… :D

    Reply
  110. Terris Grimes -  February 12, 2012 - 9:36 am

    Love this!

    Reply
  111. George Ch. -  February 12, 2012 - 9:36 am

    I would like to know why the alphabet is in its particular order. Why does A come before B which comes before C, and so on? And why are the vowels scatterd throughout?

    Reply
  112. Greg -  February 12, 2012 - 9:30 am

    I thought it was a great text. History and funny comments mixed together made it not too boring. But remember this: Keep it up, but not too much or you’ll seem dorky, geeky, a moron, like a few people that commented here. But as I already said, keep it up!

    Reply
  113. moreRANDR | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  February 12, 2012 - 9:16 am

    [...] ‘Randr’, More or Less, ‘majuscule’ or ‘miniscule’. — Linked Together — Cursive Capital, unscripted, — Wit the Cyberquill where we all sing ‘Stormy Weather’. — Often Otherwise depicted. — The ‘Blue R’, ‘the letter H’:– The Timeline of all that is written. — The ‘RandR’ befuddles us troglodytes. — Throwing caution to the Windows, — Ungrammatically bitten. — Universal Equal Rights. — And Free speech Wit Da Nachos. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  114. Tom -  February 12, 2012 - 9:10 am

    You didn’t go far enough about the letter r. My elderly parents and their generation made the lowercase r in cursive much differently than their kids were taught. Their very attractive version probably could be found as part of the capital R with the left side coming from the previous letter. There is no way on this keyboard to show the cursive lowercase r which so many of us (those who still use any cursive at all instead of printing everything) use today, but everyone knows that it looks similar to a lowercase n. Any explanation why we do not use that version today?

    Reply
  115. Milan -  February 12, 2012 - 9:03 am

    It is fascinating to study and contemplate the those languages with unique alphabets differing from ours especially the ancient ones. The Hebrew alphabet, for example, also used in Yiddish, employs no majuscules or minuscules but five of the letters differ when used at the ends of words and flows from right to left. German uses some extra letters with diacritical marks and a special form of “s” (not used as initial letters) pronounced as our s but the regular s is like our z, while w is voiced as our v and our v is like an f in English.
    Thanks so much for broaching the subject.

    Reply
  116. Chocolate Lover -  February 12, 2012 - 8:33 am

    Wow! never realized that until now actually :) :( :|

    Reply
  117. Ellie -  February 12, 2012 - 8:26 am

    Why we have to have a lowercase AND an uppercase. Why couldn’t we just have a lowercase? Why do we really need an uppercase?

    Reply
  118. Lucy -  February 12, 2012 - 8:11 am

    I wanna know about Q like constancebonacieux
    1)About the tongue thingy
    2)About its resemblance to g.In writing,that is.
    What about B??

    Reply
  119. Lucy -  February 12, 2012 - 8:07 am

    That looks like 2

    Reply
  120. d -  February 12, 2012 - 7:53 am

    wow what About D and d

    Reply
  121. Parker -  February 12, 2012 - 6:57 am

    The abstruent J would make an interesting subject. What is its written and also is phonetic history?

    Reply
  122. Lozzahottie -  February 12, 2012 - 6:48 am

    I would like to know what the point of q is if you need another letter to make words with it, and you always need a u x

    Reply
  123. Baker -  February 12, 2012 - 6:39 am

    Not really that informative. Leaves the reader with more questions than before reading the article.

    Reply
  124. Bron -  February 12, 2012 - 3:54 am

    What are some sounds/letters that feature in other languages but not in English?

    Reply
  125. Pallavi -  February 11, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    Fascinating to know the origins of alphabets… each deriving from the other set in mysterious ways! but then again, it’s the universal rule of necessity and efficiency that’s guided human endeavors: be it writing or engineering! :)

    Reply
  126. yayRayShell -  February 11, 2012 - 8:35 pm

    I would like to learn about the letter A and T.

    Mostly A because why would it have a different looking lowercase letter and have two different ways of writing it. Because unlike the computer, many people, like me, write it with just a little tale at the end.

    Oh and for T I was wondering why the uppercase would not have the line sticking through and the lowercase one would.

    I actually think it’s better for upper and lowercase letters to look different because some people with illegible writing will amok other people confused.

    Reply
  127. Aubriella -  February 11, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    I’d like to know how we got the cursive handwriting. This was an interesting article.

    Reply
  128. Harry Mason -  February 11, 2012 - 6:58 pm

    !!! My family is my misfortune !!! ABH/DDH

    Reply
  129. Albert James -  February 11, 2012 - 6:48 pm

    How did we create different styles to write the same letters? Some people write the “g” with a straight tail, others with an oval tail. Once the language stabilized into the characters we use today, how did different fonts come about without the new ways of forming the letters turn to mean completely different sounds or evolve to have conditional cases like “use this type of y only next to vowels, and write this type of y when placed next to consonants”?

    Reply
  130. Yoon -  February 11, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    Fail

    Reply
  131. sa -  February 11, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    what about M?

    Reply
  132. wow. . . -  February 11, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    wow

    Reply
  133. mary torres -  February 11, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    i would love to learn a new letter but even if someone made a new letter what would it be ?

    Reply
  134. constancebonacieux -  February 11, 2012 - 6:00 pm

    How about Q? Why does it have that weird tongue thing? And I think it’d be interesting to learn where the other letters of the alphabet came from (“the Greek alphabet only had 24 letters, and the Latin alphabet had just 21. Obviously, we’ve toyed with them since then”)

    Reply
  135. dsalkjf -  February 11, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    letters b to B and d to D?

    Reply
  136. Mann -  February 11, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Whoa!!! :-)

    Reply

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