- At the time of the Roman Republic the alphabet had 21 letters, A T, X,
but later the Romans added Y & Z. We have inherited this alphabet of 23
letters, but it was extended to 26 to include J U & W. These 3 additions
were made in the Middle Ages & grew from the letters I & V.
The Romans used the same letter V to indicate T (?) vowel & 2 consonant
sounds. About the 11th C. scribes began to double it to indicate one of
the consonant values. The distinction that we now make between v & u
came more gradually & it was not until 1800 that the distinction
became absolute in English.
- Phoenician, like Hebrew & Arabic was written from rt. to left. So was
very early Greek. Then there was a period of boustrophendonic writing
back and forth on alternate lines. Finally both Greeks & Latins settled
down to the left to right method which is easiest for rt. handed people
In the process the non-symmetrical letters like B, E, P, & R were
- The Romans required the alphabet from the Greeks by way of the
S. Tamnenbamm p. 148 - In early 16 C. documents we occasionally find an accent or cedilla [inserted] (a small z) [end inserted] under
an e to indicate the letter is equivalent to Roman ae (æ). In France
the acute, grave, & circumflex accents, which are so characteristic of
French orthography, were not known to the "old writers" & that they
did not even use the cedilla (or cerilla) under the c (to indicate
that the c was to be pronounced like an S).
Pogio -> question marks (~.) sickle shaped; (3.) 2 loops facing to the left
DeLa Mare - - used oe & ae diphthongs, instead of the medieval "e"
- by 1425 he hardly used diphthongs at all.
Satuloli -> e cedilla for "ae"
Notes and Questions
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