42 votes
Accepted

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

Short answer: The letter G was inserted into the Latin alphabet on the place of the letter Z that was abolished officially at the same time. For more information, see this answer and also this answer ...
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41 votes
Accepted

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

Yes, there are. Most famous is of course the Chinese script with several thousand characters. For Unicode purposes, Korean also has a lot of characters, because Unicode encodes Korean syllables as ...
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36 votes
Accepted

Why are J, U, W considered part of the basic Latin Alphabet?

Despite its name, the ISO Basic Latin Alphabet isn't particularly concerned with representing Latin. It was developed in the modern day, so the fact that I~J and U~V weren't consistently distinguished ...
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  • 50.9k
27 votes
Accepted

Is there some relationship between the modern u and μ?

No, there is no relationship. The lowercase form μ is just a calligraphic development of the uppercase form. Here's an illustration with colored dots to indicate the corresponding parts: It's just a ...
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  • 16.5k
16 votes

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

Chinese, Japanese, Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sanskrit, the list is endless.
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  • 22.6k
16 votes

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

We know that the Romans invented the letter G, derived its shape from C, and put G in seventh place. jk linked to an answer to a Latin.SE question. None of the answers to that question, nor any of ...
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  • 572
14 votes

Which official document defines the English alphabet?

None whatever. There are no "official" resources of any kind, for any aspect of the English language. There are dictionaries and grammars which are widely regarded as authoritative, but none of ...
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  • 6,279
12 votes

Is music a language?

This is not a question which can be answered with a yes/no answer. Music is like a natural language in some respects and very much unlike one in others. Here are some suggested similarities and ...
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12 votes
Accepted

Was there an evolution of the Greek alphabet in the Middle East?

These are all normal Greek characters. C is a form of sigma: it's called lunate sigma, and is a variant that's sometimes used in printed texts these days too. Lunate sigma is a Hellenistic development ...
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  • 10.4k
11 votes
Accepted

Why is the letter "Q" visually simillar to "O"?

O is basically just a circle, so unlike with C/G, the visual similarity with Q is trivial. You could equally wonder if C being O with a chunk taken out has to do with anything. Q and O derive from ...
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11 votes
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Estimating the number of words in a language before invention of alphabet

I'm afraid I'm going to have to frame-challenge this one. For example, it seems intuitive that a spoken language cannot hold too many words without having a way to write them down (imagine having ...
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  • 50.9k
11 votes

Why are J, U, W considered part of the basic Latin Alphabet?

Is it just a coincidence that English is the only major language that used all these letters and no more in its orthography? Is it a coincidence? No. But that's not the right test, because there are ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Why does the NATO Spelling alphabet contain words with more than two syllables

The goal of the NATO spelling alphabet is to make the symbols as easily-distinguishable as possible, even over noisy channels (such as radio). Brevity (keeping the words short) is secondary to that. ...
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  • 50.9k
10 votes
Accepted

Where does the letter <j> come from to Slavic Cyrillic alphabets?

The letter <j> is really used in some Cyrillic-based alphabets, all of them were once created either by a certain person or by a group of people, that is, these alphabets aren't a product of ...
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  • 15.4k
9 votes
Accepted

How did it happen that K was introduced to Latin alphabet in place of C and C started to mark /t͡s/ or /s/ in many languages?

The Old Latin alphabet had 3 letters for the sound [k]: C, K, and Q. K was used before A, Q before V (the shape U appeared later), and C elsewhere. Besides, C was also used for the sound [g]. Later, K ...
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  • 15.4k
9 votes

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

For an alphabet used for a single language, Vietnamese has: 29 letters (including the vowels without tone marks) 12 vowels can accept 5 tone marks each All these of course in upper and lower case ...
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  • 191
9 votes

Is there a collective term for the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets?

Some people in typography and grammatology use terms like Euroscript and acronyms like LCG (akin CJKV for sinograms). The L may be replaced by an R for roman and the order may be different, e.g. GRC ...
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  • 528
9 votes

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from

It's important to note that whilst Greek does spell /ps/ with a single letter, it does not represent a single phoneme, but a sequence of two. In native vocabulary, Greek /ps/ continues the Proto-Indo-...
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  • 4,482
8 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between "می‌گفت" and "میگفت"?

There is no difference. It is just a matter of spelling. You can write the particle مى as a separate word, or you can join it to the following verb.
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  • 22.6k
8 votes
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Names of the letters in the Latin script

Why can't all the 26 letters be given universal names for all the Latin languages? They used to, in fact! Well…mostly. Back in the days of the Roman empire, there were mostly consistent names for ...
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  • 50.9k
7 votes

Which writing script can represent all human sounds?

The only writing system that comes close to what you describe is the IPA, or the now-deprecated APA. However, if you add the consideration of being "phonemic", then we would have to know exactly what ...
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  • 66.5k
7 votes

Are there any "simple" languages?

Malay and Indonesian (which are very similar to each other) are simple in all the respects you mentioned. Alphabet: Latin alphabet without any diacritics. Pronunciation: Shallow orthography, which ...
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  • 1,733
7 votes
Accepted

Why do some alphabets have special final forms for some letters?

Usually the final forms weren't designed intentionally. They arose over time through, effectively, sloppy handwriting. Up through the mid-Hellenistic period, sigma's various forms (from the same root ...
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  • 50.9k
7 votes

Alphabet size affects complexity of written ideas?

Most certainly. The number of different symbols in a writing system has nothing to do with what can be expressed in it. When it comes down to it, this answer is being represented inside your computer ...
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  • 50.9k
7 votes
Accepted

(Why) did the Thai script convert Sanskrit द /d/ to /th/ and then introduce its own character for /d/?

We have a case of historical spellings. We'll use the descendants of the alveolar stops as the easiest to understand: ISO Romanisation: ta - tha - da - dha Devanagari: त - थ - द - ध Khmer script: ត - ...
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  • 5,503
7 votes

Why do we make a distinction between letters and punctuation marks?

Good question! The distinctions made between all these different components of a writing system are observed by linguists and then given names. The defining feature of a punctuation mark is that it'...
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  • 314
7 votes
Accepted

Why does lower case "a" look so different from capital "A"?

Compare the uncial form and it may become clearer: (Image via Britannica.) In other words, the right leg was written on its own, then the left leg and the middle crossbar were written in a single ...
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  • 50.9k
6 votes

Origin of Alphabetic/Phonemic Scripts

This may or may not be true, depending on what is meant by "ultimate source": are we talking about specific letter shapes, or just the abstract principle of an alphabet? If the former, no; if the ...
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  • 10.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Is the Ampersands a Letter in the Latin Alphabet?

No, the ampersand was not a letter but rather developed from a ligature between e and t in the Latin word et (and - as in etc). It has its origins in 1st century BC and seems to have been in common ...
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