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Latin Alphabet

Latin Alphabet

The beginnings of the Latin alphabet can be traced to inscriptions dating from the 6th century BC. It was adapted from the earlier Etruscan alphabet that had grown to prominence in the region by approximately the 7th century BC.

Additionally, the letters Y and Z were taken from the Greek alphabet as Latin was heavily influenced by its eastern culturally advanced neighbors. The modern English and many European languages still use the basic Latin alphabet, if not the actual words of the language.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - V - X - Y - Z

Quite contrary to modern western languages, lower case letters did not exist in the Latin alphabet that forms the root of many of these modern tongues. The letters K, X, Y and Z were used only for writing words in Greek, except for Roman numerals. The letters J, U and W were much later additions well beyond the Roman influence at a time as the European languages evolved to include more sounds and words. J is a variant of I, and U is a variant of V (i.e. Latin IVLIVS CAESAR, English Julius Caesar). The W was introduced as a 'double-v' to identify the sound that developed later differentiating it from the v.

Did you know?

In the course of its history, the Latin alphabet was used for several new languages, and therefore over time, some new letters and diacritics were created.

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Latin Alphabet - Related Topic: Roman History


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