Latin Alphabet

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Latin Alphabet: Greek alphabet, Hebrew alphabet

Latin Alphabet


historically, a branch of the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn was derived from the Greek alphabet. It is generally taken to have come into being in the seventh century B.C. The letters were written first from right to left and, on alternate lines, from left to right (the boustrophedon). After the fourth century B.C. they were written from left to right. The names of the letters (bee, dee, ef, and so on), with the exception of yod, zeta, and upsilon, were not Greek or Semitic but rather were either borrowed from the Etruscans or were original inventions. The basic shapes of the letters were established in the first to fifth centuries A.D.

The original Latin alphabet consisted of 20 letters (A B C D E F H I K L M N O P Q R S K V X); the letter C was used to signify k or g, and the sound [k] could be written as C, K, or Q. In about 230 B.C. the letter G was introduced, and almost simultaneously the use of C, K, and Q was regulated: C was the most common representation of [k], Q was used before u, and K was retained in only a few words. The letters Y and Z were introduced at the beginning of the first century B.C. for words of Greek origin. Thus, the alphabet consisted of 23 characters. The regular use of the letters J (as opposed to I), U (as opposed to V), and W began only in the era of the Renaissance.

Beginning in the early Middle Ages, the Latin alphabet served many languages of Europe, and later it was also used for a number of languages of Africa, America, and Asia.


Diringer, D. Alfavit. Moscow, 1963. Pages 608–15. (Translated from English.)
Gelb, I. J. A Study of Writing. Chicago, 1963.
Jensen, H. Die Schrift. Berlin, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
Since the internet's creation in the 1980's, web domains have always been written with the Latin alphabet, until now.
6 billion Internet users worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts not based on the Latin alphabet, said The Times.
26 characters in the Latin alphabet used in English, as well as 10 numerals and the hyphen.
Saudi plates normally have three Arabic characters and three numbers, but the growing fashion is for auto owners also to display a version using the Latin alphabet and some buyers of personalized "vanity plates" deliberately choose Arabic letters which turn into words like "SEX", "ASS" and "NUT.
Mind you, the Latin alphabet is believed to have been developed from the Greek in the seventh century BC.
Ladino in Turkey was ordered by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to change alphabets as well, which is why Ladino is written with the Latin alphabet today in Israel after five centuries of being written in the Hebrew alphabet, usually using Rashi script.
A century later, they introduced it to Italy and by the bias of the Etruscans, the alphabet then passed on to the Romans, leading to the Latin alphabet, which is still used in Europe today.
Places that can seem like frozen, ideal landscapes from the heights of a Ferris wheel, or that are rendered chaotic as a labyrinth by a mysterious transformation of all signs from the Latin alphabet to the Arabic.
They were then asked to give their opinion on a situation where the two languages are based on a Latin alphabet.
1, 2001, Azeris took what the elder Aliyev hoped will be a great leap forward towards Europe as the country began writing the local Azeri language with a Latin alphabet.
Most Western European languages use the Latin alphabet and minor variations thereof.
Runes are an early form of writing, which was used by the Anglo-Saxons before they learnt the Latin alphabet, which arrived with Christianity.