HOME
The Info List - Latin Alphabet



--- Advertisement ---


(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

The CLASSICAL LATIN ALPHABET, also known as the ROMAN ALPHABET, is a writing system originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language
Latin language
. The Latin
Latin
alphabet evolved from the visually similar Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet , which was itself descended from the Phoenician abjad , which in turn was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics . The Etruscans who ruled early Rome adopted the Cumaean Greek alphabet which was modified over time to become the Etruscan alphabet , which was in turn adopted and further modified by the Romans to produce the Latin
Latin
alphabet.

During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the Latin
Latin
alphabet was used (sometimes with modifications) for writing Romance languages
Romance languages
, direct descendants of Latin
Latin
, as well as Celtic , Germanic , Baltic , and some Slavic languages . With the age of colonialism and Christian evangelism , the Latin script spread beyond Europe
Europe
, coming into use for writing indigenous American , Australian , Austronesian , Austroasiatic
Austroasiatic
, and African languages. More recently, linguists have also tended to prefer the Latin script or the International Phonetic Alphabet (itself largely based on Latin
Latin
script) when transcribing or creating written standards for non-European languages, such as the African reference alphabet .

The term _ Latin
Latin
alphabet_ may refer to either the alphabet used to write Latin
Latin
(as described in this article), or other alphabets based on the Latin script , which is the basic set of letters common to the various alphabets descended from the classical Latin
Latin
alphabet, such as the English alphabet . These Latin-script alphabets may discard letters, like the Rotokas alphabet , or add new letters, like the Danish and Norwegian alphabets. Letter shapes have evolved over the centuries, including the development in Medieval Latin
Latin
of lower-case , forms which did not exist in the Classical period alphabet.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Origins

* 1.1.1 Old italic alphabet * 1.1.2 Archaic Latin
Latin
alphabet * 1.1.3 Old Latin
Latin
alphabet * 1.1.4 Classical Latin
Latin
alphabet

* 1.2 Medieval and later developments * 1.3 Spread

* 2 See also * 3 References * 4 Further reading * 5 External links

HISTORY

Main article: History of the Latin script

ORIGINS

It is generally believed that the Romans adopted the Cumae alphabet , a variant of the Greek alphabet , in the 7th century BC from Cumae , a Greek colony in Southern Italy . ( Gaius Julius Hyginus in _Fab. 277_ mentions the legend that it was Carmenta , the Cimmerian Sibyl , who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which her son Evander introduced into Latium, supposedly 60 years before the Trojan War
Trojan War
, but there is no historically sound basis to this tale.) The Ancient Greek alphabet was in turn based upon the Phoenician abjad . From the Cumae alphabet, the Etruscan alphabet was derived and the Romans eventually adopted 21 of the original 27 Etruscan letters:

Old Italic Alphabet

The Duenos Inscription
Duenos Inscription
, dated to the 6th century BC, shows the earliest known forms of the Old Latin
Latin
alphabet.

Old Italic alphabet LETTERS 𐌀 𐌁 𐌂 𐌃 𐌄 𐌅 𐌆 𐌇 𐌈 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌎 𐌏 𐌐 𐌑 𐌒 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌗 𐌘 𐌙 𐌚

TRANSLITERATION A B C D E V Z H Θ I K L M N Ξ O P Ś Q R S T Y X Φ Ψ F

Archaic Latin
Latin
Alphabet

Archaic Latin
Latin
alphabet AS OLD ITALIC 𐌀 𐌁 𐌂 𐌃 𐌄 𐌅 𐌆 𐌇 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌏 𐌐 𐌒 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌗

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

Old Latin
Latin
Alphabet

The letter ⟨C⟩ was the western form of the Greek gamma , but it was used for the sounds /ɡ/ and /k/ alike, possibly under the influence of Etruscan , which might have lacked any voiced plosives . Later, probably during the 3rd century BC, the letter ⟨Z⟩ — unneeded to write Latin
Latin
properly — was replaced with the new letter ⟨G⟩, a ⟨C⟩ modified with a small vertical stroke, which took its place in the alphabet. From then on, ⟨G⟩ represented the voiced plosive /ɡ/, while ⟨C⟩ was generally reserved for the voiceless plosive /k/. The letter ⟨K⟩ was used only rarely, in a small number of words such as _Kalendae _, often interchangeably with ⟨C⟩.

Old Latin
Latin
alphabet LETTER A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X

Classical Latin
Latin
Alphabet

_ The apices in this first-century inscription are very light. (There is one over the ó in the first line.) The vowel I_ is written taller rather than taking an apex. The interpuncts are comma-shaped, an elaboration of a more typical triangular shape. From the shrine of the Augustales at Herculaneum
Herculaneum
.

After the Roman conquest of Greece in the 1st century BC, Latin adopted the Greek letters ⟨Y⟩ and ⟨Z⟩ (or readopted, in the latter case) to write Greek loanwords, placing them at the end of the alphabet. An attempt by the emperor Claudius
Claudius
to introduce three additional letters did not last. Thus it was during the classical Latin
Latin
period that the Latin
Latin
alphabet contained 23 letters:

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

LATIN NAME (MAJUS) á bé cé dé é ef gé há ꟾ ká el em en ó pé qv́ er es té v́ ix ꟾ graeca zéta

LATIN NAME _ā_ _bē_ _cē_ _dē_ _ē_ _ef_ _gē_ _hā_ _ī_ _kā_ _el_ _em_ _en_ _ō_ _pē_ _qū_ _er_ _es_ _tē_ _ū_ _ix_ _ī Graeca_ _zēta_

LATIN PRONUNCIATION (IPA ) aː beː keː deː eː ɛf ɡeː haː iː kaː ɛl ɛm ɛn oː peː kuː ɛr ɛs teː uː iks iː ˈɡraɪka ˈdzeːta

The Latin
Latin
names of some of these letters are disputed. In general the Romans did not use the traditional (Semitic -derived) names as in Greek: the names of the plosives were formed by adding /eː/ to their sound (except for ⟨K⟩ and ⟨Q⟩, which needed different vowels to be distinguished from ⟨C⟩) and the names of the continuants consisted either of the bare sound, or the sound preceded by /e/.

The letter ⟨Y⟩ when introduced was probably called "hy" /hyː/ as in Greek, the name upsilon not being in use yet, but this was changed to "i Graeca" (Greek i) as Latin
Latin
speakers had difficulty distinguishing its foreign sound /y/ from /i/. ⟨Z⟩ was given its Greek name, zeta . This scheme has continued to be used by most modern European languages that have adopted the Latin
Latin
alphabet. For the Latin sounds represented by the various letters see Latin
Latin
spelling and pronunciation ; for the names of the letters in English see English alphabet .

Diacritics were not regularly used, but they did occur sometimes, the commonest being the apex used to mark long vowels , which had previously sometimes been written double. However, in place of taking an apex, the letter i was written taller : ⟨á é ꟾ ó v́⟩. For example, what is today transcribed _Lūciī a fīliī_ was written ⟨lv́ciꟾ·a·fꟾliꟾ⟩ in the inscription at right.

The primary mark of punctuation was the interpunct , which was used as a word divider , though it fell out of use after 200 AD.

Old Roman cursive script, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters, by merchants writing business accounts, by schoolchildren learning the Latin
Latin
alphabet, and even emperors issuing commands. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals , but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC to the 3rd century, but it probably existed earlier than that. It led to Uncial , a majuscule script commonly used from the 3rd to 8th centuries AD by Latin
Latin
and Greek scribes.

New Roman cursive script, also known as minuscule cursive, was in use from the 3rd century to the 7th century, and uses letter forms that are more recognizable to modern eyes; ⟨a⟩, ⟨b⟩, ⟨d⟩, and ⟨e⟩ had taken a more familiar shape, and the other letters were proportionate to each other. This script evolved into the medieval scripts known as Merovingian and Carolingian minuscule .

MEDIEVAL AND LATER DEVELOPMENTS

_ De chalcographiae inventione_ (1541, Mainz
Mainz
) with the 23 letters. W , U and J are missing. Jeton from Nuremberg
Nuremberg
, ca. 1553

It was not until the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
that the letter ⟨W ⟩ (originally a ligature of two ⟨V ⟩s) was added to the Latin
Latin
alphabet, to represent sounds from the Germanic languages which did not exist in medieval Latin, and only after the Renaissance
Renaissance
did the convention of treating ⟨I ⟩ and ⟨U ⟩ as vowels , and ⟨J ⟩ and ⟨V ⟩ as consonants , become established. Prior to that, the former had been merely allographs of the latter.

With the fragmentation of political power, the style of writing changed and varied greatly throughout the Middle Ages, even after the invention of the printing press . Early deviations from the classical forms were the uncial script , a development of the Old Roman cursive , and various so-called minuscule scripts that developed from New Roman cursive , of which the Carolingian minuscule was the most influential, introducing the lower case forms of the letters, as well as other writing conventions that have since become standard.

The languages that use the Latin script today generally use capital letters to begin paragraphs and sentences and proper nouns . The rules for capitalization have changed over time, and different languages have varied in their rules for capitalization. Old English , for example, was rarely written with even proper nouns capitalized; whereas Modern English of the 18th century had frequently all nouns capitalized, in the same way that Modern German is written today, e.g. _Alle Schwestern der alten Stadt hatten die Vögel gesehen_ ("All of the sisters of the old city had seen the birds").

SPREAD

This map shows the countries in the world that use only language(s) predominantly written in a Latin
Latin
alphabet as the official (or de facto official) national language(s) in dark green. The lighter green indicates the countries that use a language predominantly written in a Latin
Latin
alphabet as a co-official language at the national level. Main article: Spread of the Latin script

The Latin
Latin
alphabet spread, along with the Latin language
Latin language
, from the Italian Peninsula to the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
with the expansion of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. The eastern half of the Empire, including Greece
Greece
, Turkey
Turkey
, the Levant
Levant
, and Egypt
Egypt
, continued to use Greek as a lingua franca , but Latin
Latin
was widely spoken in the western half, and as the western Romance languages
Romance languages
evolved out of Latin, they continued to use and adapt the Latin
Latin
alphabet.

With the spread of Western Christianity during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, the script was gradually adopted by the peoples of northern Europe
Europe
who spoke Celtic languages (displacing the Ogham
Ogham
alphabet) or Germanic languages (displacing earlier Runic alphabets ), Baltic languages
Baltic languages
, as well as by the speakers of several Uralic languages
Uralic languages
, most notably Hungarian , Finnish and Estonian . The Latin
Latin
alphabet came into use for writing the West Slavic languages and several South Slavic languages , as the people who spoke them adopted Roman Catholicism .

Later, it was adopted by non-Catholic countries. Romanian , most of whose speakers are Eastern Orthodox, was the first major language to switch from Cyrillic
Cyrillic
to Latin
Latin
script, doing so in the 19th century, although Moldova
Moldova
only did so after the Soviet collapse.

It has also been increasingly adopted by majority Muslim Turkic-speaking countries, beginning with Turkey
Turkey
in the 1920s. After the Soviet collapse, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
, Turkmenistan , and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
all switched from Cyrillic
Cyrillic
to Latin. The Kazakh government announced in 2015 that the Latin
Latin
alphabet will replace Cyrillic
Cyrillic
as the writing system for the Kazakh language by 2025.

Asian countries see the lowest proportion of people using Latin script relative to alternative scripts.

The spread of the Latin
Latin
alphabet among previously illiterate peoples has inspired the creation of new writing systems, such as the Avoiuli alphabet in Vanuatu
Vanuatu
, which replaces the letters of the Latin
Latin
alphabet with alternative symbols.

SEE ALSO

* Calligraphy
Calligraphy
* Euboean alphabet
Euboean alphabet
* Latin script in Unicode
Unicode
* ISO basic Latin
Latin
alphabet * Latin-1 * Legacy of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
* Palaeography
Palaeography
* Phoenician alphabet * Pinyin * Roman letters used in mathematics * Typography * Western Latin
Latin
character sets (computing)

REFERENCES

* ^ Michael C. Howard (2012), Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies. pp. 23. * ^ Kazakh language to be converted to Latin
Latin
alphabet – MCS RK. Inform.kz (30 January 2015). Retrieved on 2015-09-28.

FURTHER READING

* Jensen, Hans (1970). _Sign Symbol and Script_. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. ISBN 0-04-400021-9 . . Transl. of Jensen, Hans (1958). _Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart_. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften . , as revised by the author * Rix, Helmut (1993). "La scrittura e la lingua". In Cristofani, Mauro (hrsg.). _Gli etruschi – Una nuova immagine_. Firenze: Giunti. pp. S.199–227. * Sampson, Geoffrey (1985). _Writing systems_. London (etc.): Hutchinson. * Wachter, Rudolf (1987). _Altlateinische Inschriften: sprachliche und epigraphische Untersuchungen zu den Dokumenten bis etwa 150 v.Chr. Bern (etc.)_. : Peter Lang. * W. Sidney Allen (1978). "The names of the letters of the Latin alphabet _(Appendix C)_". _Vox Latina — a guide to the pronunciation of classical Latin_. Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
. ISBN 0-521-22049-1 .

* Biktaş, Şamil (2003). _Tuğan Tel_.

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to LATIN ALPHABET _.

* Lewis and Short _ Latin
Latin
Dictionary_ on the letter _G_ * Latin-Alphabet

* v * t * e

Latin script

* History * Spread * Romanization * Roman numerals

ALPHABETS (LIST )

* Classical Latin
Latin
alphabet * ISO basic Latin
Latin
alphabet

*

.