Talk:Latin alphabet/Archive 1

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Archive 1 | Archive 2

Use of abbreviations

I can guess what OF, F, means, but LL ... ? Please expand the various abbreviations at least once, and better every time -- we don't have to save paper. The only excuse IMHO is if it becomes a bore to read (but reformulation is probably better then). --Robbe

P.S.: Yes, I used IMHO up there. And now P.S., I'm obviously a repeat offender ... My argument is that (a) talk pages have less stringent "rules", and that (b) these abbreviations are more widely understood in this social context than F for French.

Uhhh... hello, Robbe? LL is not an abbreviation. --Ashi
Open Webster's Dictionary and you find those abbreviations mean Old French, French and Late Latin. Relevant to etymology, but not the development of the alphabet. Cbdorsett 19:41, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Second paragraph

I corrected a bit the second paragraph, still needs rephrasing (I found the information in a Russian Latin textbook). --Uriyan

Long S

There's a mention of ſ in German, nut nothing yet about its origins. The long ſ was used in English too, & often mistaken by modern readers as an "f".

Rename to "Latin script"?

This article should probably be rescoped to be the "Latin Script", not the "Latin Alphabet". Script is the technical / academic term for the writing system as a whole, including word formation, punctuation, and line layout. The term alphabet strictly covers only the letters in the script. Also, some scripts such as Chinese-derived scripts are not based on alphabets. This same comment applies to Greek Alphabet and other "Alphabet" articles. I don't feel ready to take the time to implement this change now, though. --Jdlh

This article isn't about word formation, punctuation, and line layout. It is about the Latin Alphabet, and that's why it's called "Latin alphabet". Also, "Latin alphabet" is the more commonly used name than "Latin script" by a factor of more than 3 to 1 [1]. "Script" is a technical term used to generalize all the different writing systems, but an alphabet is a kind of script, so why not be precise? If you think there are enough distinctions between "Latin script" and "Latin alphabet", why don't you create a Latin script article that contains information about the Latin script? Nohat 03:53, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)
  • I think it is OK to have an article just on the alphabet (it is too long already as such). There is already an article on the Latin language. So the details of the script that lie between the two could go into an article Latin orthography or Latin spelling.Jorge Stolfi 01:35, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

"Latin alphabet" vs. "Collation"

Note: Wrt. collating sequences there seems to be a duplication of effort between Latin alphabet and Collation. Perhaps it would be best to move everything about also callation of latin alphabets to "Collation"? -- Egil 20:57 May 5, 2003 (UTC)

AE and OE ligatures

How come there is no mention of Æ or Œ in English in the article? Rmhermen 02:03, Nov 25, 2003 (UTC)

Or in Latin, for that matter. They were definitely used in Medieval Latin, and in some pronunciation systems they stood for distinct vowel sounds.Jorge Stolfi 01:35, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)
In English Æ and Œ are mere ligatures, not separate letters. Ligatures are of the field of typography, not of alphabets. Certainly both are letters in their own right in some scandinavian languages, but not in English. Therefore they're mentioned in the Ligatures section, as it's the appropriate one. --logixoul 11:57, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Very old Latin alphabet

The original latin alphabet did not have G, Y or Z either. Somebody should correct that. Rumpelstiltskin 20:54, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Yeah I'll do that.Cameron Nedland 21:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


It would be nice if the copyright violation thing was elaborated. Surely the whole page isn't broken? I've taken a cursory look at the external link and it didn't look like it was the source for the whole page here. --Shallot 21:10, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I've kicked out the offending history paragraphs, the rest seems unrelated to --Shallot 21:17, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

You're right, the history stuff is all that was from that page. The trick is that the copyvio is very old - the oldest revision of the article (before the move from Roman alphabet) is much more obviously stolen, although there is some original content; I suspect the original copyvio predates what's now in the database. So the history stuff wasn't just recently added onto an otherwise fine article, it's that the rest of the article grew up around it. I guess just kicking out the offending paragraphs is the best thing to in a case like this, but not all of the articles I listed on Wikipedia:Copyright problems have been edited this much. DopefishJustin (・∀・) 03:08, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The bit about Manios, which I used as an example of non-applicability of Grassmann's law, was removed, though it's not on the page the copyvio was copied from, which was obviously copied from somewhere else as shown by the stars. Can Manios be reworded and put back in? -phma 00:42, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)
If you can make it fit in the current article, I don't see why not. --Shallot
Maybe it would be better to put it in Latin language. Anyone know more about Old Latin? -phma 01:30, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Exclusive letters

What is meant by this? Is it just a sampling of other letters beyond the English 26? It's kind of odd as a subsection under the description "As used by the English language, it contains the following characters" Gwalla | Talk 04:32, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, its odd. But perhaps we first should get a consistent idea, what to put in which alphabet article. See Talk:Alphabet. -- Pjacobi 07:42, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I dislike this section as it uses examples of accents added to the 26 core letters rather than just bona fide distinct characters like the ligatures e.g. German Ezsett (which features) or the Ampersand (&) (Which is missing). Additionally I am not sure if a circumflex is ever used with a capital letter (I may be wrong about that but certainly remember something about capitals losing accents in French lessons at school!) Accents are no more than punctuation marks of a sort Dainamo 27 Oct 2004.
I'm not sure whether it's appropriate or not. Certainly, it's not exhaustive, so I'd suggest it should go, or be replaced with a link to the Categories. — OwenBlacker 23:47, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
In Portuguese even when printed in caps, the diacriticals are retained. Portuguese uses circumflexes over vowels. Nelson Ricardo 00:44, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)

By any chance should the letters on the Uncommon Latin letters page be added to the exclusive letters section? Just a thought. --Evice 05:50, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

Wh is not a letter. It is a digraph. Evertype 11:08, 2005 Jan 3 (UTC)

It seemed to be considered a single letter in Maori language. I guess the situation would be similar to old Dutch IJ, and old Spanish LL, then... =S
Maybe the info should be removed from the "Exclusive letters" section, and instead be added to the Collating section, although I am no expert on Maori Collation...

"Original" latin alphabet

I am somewhat confused by the following table, that claims to depicture an original Latin alphabet:

M N O P Q R S T V X  

Looking in my textbook from highschool, I would rather expect:

8th century B.C.
— adapted from the Etruscan alphabet:
A B C (G) D E F Z H I
K L M N O Γ (P) Q P (R)

1st century B.C.
— after the conquest of Greece:

...but I'm sure there exist several different scholarly opinions of what a true "original" latin alphabet looked like. --Johan Magnus 22:51, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I reckon there's no reason not to be bold and replace the content with the version you've jsut put here (though wikifying the the table syntax would be nice ;o) — OwenBlacker 23:49, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Well, my problem is that I'm not particularly knowledgable. Being bold is a good thing, but Wikipedia ought to strive for a higher degree of correctness than barely understood simplified schemes from secondary education. --Johan Magnus 11:36, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)


If anyone cares i made a new and improved latin alphabet navbox that could be used on the individual letter pages. It's adapted directly from the Cyrillic box, and i think makes things a little more open and unambiguous. Feel free to make changes, or start implementing it, if i dont get around to it first. Its at Template: Latin alphabet navbox. Xyzzyva 19:19, Dec 22, 2004 (UTC)

Who runs the alphabet

I like this link. Not least because I, apparently, run the letter þ. Evertype 12:31, 2004 Dec 26 (UTC)

Maybe so. If someone knows an actual published reference for the idea that thorn came from the letter D, I'd bet you would be the first to provide it. :) Cbdorsett 20:06, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Good edit, Mirv

Nice job of cleaning out detritus. Sure, what went on in Egypt in 1800 BC is interesting to everybody, but it has nothing to do with the later adoption of the alphabet from the Etruscans. That info is already explained well somewhere else (I forget where, but it wouldn't be hard to find). Cbdorsett 17:45, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Don't Delete If You Don't Know.... Find Out First and Verify!

Before deleting again, read the reference. It's posted for a reason. As for hypothesis: Origins of chess, Great Pyramid of Giza reference on bottom, Moscow and Rhind Mathematical Papyri.

The suggestion that Latin was an artificial language, devised to match a puzzle poem, is so ridiculous as to not even merit a mention, no matter what crackpot sources you provide to back it up. That Latin was a naturally evolving spoken language, with many genetic relatives (close relatives like Oscan and Umbrian and other italic languages, and much older relatives like greek, sanskrit and gothic) is extremely well attested. Or are you going to suggest that proto-indoeuropean was an artificial language, devised before the invention of writing to allow one of its descendents to match some puzzle ten thousand years later? User:Mirv did well to delete that. -Lethe | Talk 23:05, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)
Seems to me that if some revision called Latin "artificial" (a revision that for some reason I cannot find), the editor was thinking that at some point in time, Latin was not used daily as an oral language, but only in scholarly works. "Artificial", when used to refer to languages, refers to what we now call conlangs, that is, languages that were deliberately constructed. Regardless, all that information belongs somewhere else, not in a barebones description of the alphabet itself. Cbdorsett 19:38, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
This version contains this quote (due to Roylee):
"There is also evidence that the Latin language itself was not a haphazard product of spoken usage but actually purposefully contrived: The most plausible explanation for the sator square's existence is that the Latin language was originally built around it rather than vice versa. (See Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas.)"
You can imagine someone arguing that literary Latin was different from the spoken language. That's a well-known fact. But this quote claims that "the Latin language [..] was [..] contrived" to explain some square. Patent nonsense. Lethe | Talk 20:20, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

"for" vs. "from"

Explanation for why I reverted this edit: Alphabet, at the time, said "the alphabets of Europe, including the Roman alphabet and its descendants and the Cyrillic alphabet, developed for the eastern Slavic languages, and the runic alphabets are all themselves ultimately descended from the Greek alphabet." (emphasis is mine.) It was not entirely clear that "developed for the eastern Slavic languages" applied only to the Cyrillic alphabet, which explains the following gross misunderstanding that was inserted into this article:

the alphabets of Europe, including the Latin alphabet and its descendants, as well as the Cyrillic alphabet, all developed from the eastern Slavic languages.

As far as I know nobody thinks the Latin alphabet developed from an eastern Slavic language, but if there are theories to that effect a reference should be easy to find. —Charles P. (Mirv) 19:56, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

One Contradictory Reference:

Interesting article ... 18 pages long! But you must sign up as a member to read it. Sorry.

page 13: 2005 Encyclopædia Britannica
Two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented [circa AD 850] by ... Greeks ... who became apostles to the southern Slavs, whom they converted to Christianity. [So, technically, the Cyrillic is of Slavic origin, but invented by Greeks who were living there.]
page 15: [2]
An opinion that used to be commonly held, and still is held by many, is that the Latin alphabet was derived directly from the Greek in a form used by Greek colonists in Italy. The theory rested on an assertion that the Latin alphabet corresponds to the Chalcidian variety of the western group of Greek scripts employed at Cumae in Campania, southern Italy. This theory is unlikely; indeed, as already mentioned, the Etruscan alphabet was the link between the Greek and the Latin. For instance, the most interesting feature in the inscription of the Praeneste Fibula is the device of combining the letters f and h to represent the Latin sound of f. This was one of the Etruscan ways of representing the same sound. Also, most of the Latin letter names, such as a, be, ce, de for the Greek alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and so on, were taken over from the Etruscans.
Indeed, for the first six centuries of its existence, Roman writing was relatively unimpressive. Only with the advent of the 1st century BC were there signs of magnificence to come:
The adaptation of the Etruscan alphabet to the Latin language probably took place some time in the 7th century BC. From this century there is a gold brooch [bearing an] inscription, written in an early form of Latin, run[ning] from right to left.
Dating from the end of the 7th or the beginning of the 6th century BC [are] inscription[s] ... also written from right to left. Some Sabine inscriptions belong to the 5th or the 4th century BC. There are also a few inscriptions belonging to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

Did ya'll know that our Roman ancestors originally read from right to left? Why? Maybe because they saw the sun as rising to the right and setting to the left? Maybe because ancient Egyptians perceived the "southern" (i.e., the "African") hemisphere as the "top of the world?" Remember: Lower Egypt is to the north of Upper Egypt! Maybe it was the ancient Egyptians who originally taught the ancient Romans how to read and write??? Speculation.

page 17: [3]
At a later stage, after 250 BC, the seventh letter, the Greek zeta, was dropped because Latin did not require it, and a new letter, G, made by adding a bar to the lower end of C, was placed in its position.... After the conquest of Greece in the 1st century BC, [the Romans borrowed] a large number of Greek words.... Y and Z were adopted ... but only [so the Romans could] transliterate [the otherwise incomprehensible] Greek words; hence, they do not appear in normal Latin inscriptions.
As for the runes: page 16
The origin of the runes offers many difficult problems and has been hotly argued by scholars and others. Some scholars propounded the 6th century BC Greek alphabet [or late BC Greek cursive] as the prototype of the runes, [and others] proposed the Latin alphabet as the source.... The most probable theory, supported recently by many scholars, is that the runic script derived from a North Etruscan, Alpine alphabet. In that case, it is very probable that it originated about the 2nd century BC or a little later.... The gradual displacement of the runes coincided with the increasing influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

Happy Reading!! -- Roylee


I have a question I've been wondering about. When was the standard order of the Latin alphabet established? Was it ever different? What was the basis for this order, is there any rhyme or reason to it? For what purpose was the order created? Thanks. Deco 22:51, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

It was derived from Etruscan. The Etruscan order itself came from an earlier, logographic script - that means that graphems didn't represent sounds, but ideas. Like drawing a snowflake to represent a snowflake. See History of the alphabet. BTW for the current roughly acoustic usage there is really no excuse for such an illogical and inconsistent order IMHO... And if it wasn't people's unnecessary conservatism, it would have been reformed quite a time ago. --logixoul 12:13, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Move to Latin character set and revise this article

This article needs to be about the letters used to write ancient and modern Latin. The information here is all the Latin character set. These are not the same thing at all and is confusing the ongoing debate about what characters should be used in Wikipedia articles. --Tysto 17:29, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Cyrillic in Wikipedia

Please see the new page at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Cyrillic), aimed at

  1. Documenting the use of Cyrillic and its transliteration in Wikipedia
  2. Discussing potential revision of current practices

Michael Z. 2005-12-9 20:46 Z

Umlauts vs Diaresis as a pronunciation guide

There is a fundamental semantic and etymological difference between the umlaut and diaresis. The umlauts developed out of a small lowercase "e" superscribed on vowels and only now looks like a diaresis, but isn't semantically equivalent.

In German the letter "e with diaresis" isn't unheard of (although usually only in foreign names) but differs strongly form the a, o and u umlauts in that the absence of diaresis doesn't affect the semantics much.

The absence of an umlaut without proper transliteration (adding an e directly after the vowel that should be an umlaut) OTOH can have disastrous changes in meaning.

It's more than a pronunciation guide for a special case of a vowel (like, I would assume, the French accented vowels) and I'm pretty sure similar derived letters share that semantic significance.

I think the section should somehow emphasise that concept because it seems very non-intuitive to speakers of languages which don't have such letters (monolingual English speakers, for example) who easily mistake an umlaut for an "accented" vowel and don't know how to properly transliterate it in the absence of special characters (even the esszett ligature is more widely grepped than that -- although many don't have any idea on its meaning and thus actually seek information before attempting to transliterate it).

While these are not extensions of the basic alphabet per se (in German, at least), that is, the alphabet still only consists of the basic 26 letters in these languages, these special letters MAY have more importance than just vowels with fancy pronunciation superscripts.

I may seem nitpicky, but it's very annoying when every second English speaker out there seems to be obsessed with butchering your language whenever they can find a chance. Although I do like the neologism "uber-". -- Ashmodai 00:09, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

//NEWCOMMMENT BY RANDOM PERSON Do you want to link to "Romanizations" of languages not written with an alphabet? (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, . . .)


There is no need to use German transliteration of umlauts in English unless the common English transliteration is to do it that way. For example the German word Zürich is usually spelt Zurich in English it is close to never spelt Zuerich; Goering is often spelt that way in English, which is helpful becase there was an English Civil War general called Goring --PBS 09:13, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

pronunciation of the names of the letters

An anonymous user changed the pronunciations in Latin of the names of the letters. I suppose there are different choices (church latin versus classical latin?), but the change was incorrect. It has both A and E being pronounced [ee], whereas I don't even thing IPA has such a diphthong, and if that's supposed to be an English language phonetic example, it's wrong. [kvuu] for Q makes me think it was someone speaking some eastern european language, who thought that his language's pronunciation ought to go in instead. Anyway, I noticed that the article doesn't have a similar table showing the pronunciations as they are in modern English, and I think it ought to. -lethe talk + 13:29, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Use of diaeresis in Portuguese

I've commented out this text at the end of the section:

otherwise, the dipthong is read as "gh"
  • Perhaps diphthong should really be digraph or just combination.
  • "gh" has no set pronunciation in English - does it in Portuguese? Can this be made clearer.
  • If diphthong really does refer to the "üi" of "lingüiça" vs "ui" in other words, what does this have to do with "gh"?

Hippietrail 02:29, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that the writer meant to say "digraph", not diphthong. The notation "gh" is not from Portuguese, but from Italian. It's just a way of saying that "gu" is pronounced as a hard "g". FilipeS 21:36, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Missing G?

In the Overview section, the alphabet is indicated as being supplemented with G (among others), but is then listed out without G. All the other supplementary letters are included, for a total of 25. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I think it's just an oversight. Azaner 20:27, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

sonuna kadar sonsuza kadar

G instead of Z

In the "Overview" section, someone has written that G was not part of the original Latin alphabet and was introdduced "later". For him (or her), G is a variant of C, like Ø is a variant of O:

"by modification, as J was from I, G from C, Ø from O, eth Ð from D, yogh Ȝ from G, schwa Ə from E, or ezh ʒ from z; or..."

But if you read article G, you'll see that G replaced Z around 230 BC. So, if you consider G to be a later added letter, then you must consider Z as an "original letter". But what is an "original letter"? When we speak about Latin, we speak mainly about Classical Latin, dating back the 1st century BC. At this time, G was already a letter of the Latin alphabet. The alphabet used in Classical Latin was : A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T V X, with K used only in abreviations, and Y and Z added for greek borrowed words.

It makes no sense to mix in a same sentence the "addition" of G to the Latin alphabet and the addition of Ø, Ð, Ə,...

Švitrigaila 10:32, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Your argument makes no sense to me. I know well what the article G states, since I helped write that part myself. But if the letter G was added later (230 BC), and you do seem to agree that it was, it therefore cannot possibly be 'original' by any definition. Yes, Z was indeed an "original letter" in its place (7th) before the 3rd century, but it literally lost its place and had to queue at the end, when it was much later re-added. I'm not sure how this is hard to understand or a matter of dispute, but I'm reverting the change that makes G an "original letter', and asking for comments here on discussion. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 16:53, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

G was invented by Appius Claudius Caecus, a modification of C.

Plutarch (Quaestiones Romanae, 54, 59) attributes its introduction (in the third century BC) to Spurius Carvilius Ruga, a freedman whose grammar school was the first to charge a fee (he also was the first Roman to divorce his wife). The letter continued to represent the sound of k but, by adding a stroke to C, Carvilius created the letter G to denote that sound. Its older value survived, however, in the abbreviations for Gaius (C.) and Gnaeus (Cn.). The seventh letter in the Latin alphabet, G took the position originally held by Z (zeta), which had no equivalent value in Latin and was discarded.

The introduction of the new letter also has been attributed to Appius Claudius Caecus, Roman censor in 312 BC.

The Z comes from the Phoenician alphabet, the seventh letter: aleph, beth, gimel, daleth, he, waw, zayin ... The sound was not used in the Latin language, hence it was dropped and replaced with G, by Appius, 312 BC, but then later added back for words directly adopted from Greek.

Here's *THE LATIN* reference, the Lewis and Short Lexicon [with minor correction from my hardcopy]: G , g , indecl. n. or (on account of littera) f., had originally no place in the Latin alphabet: both the sharp and the flat guttural mutes, our k and g sounds, being represented by C; hence on the Columna Rostrata LECIONES, MACISTRATOS, EXFOCIONT, (pu)CNANDOD, PVCN(ad), CARTACINIENSIS, for legiones, etc.; hence, too, the archaic form ACETARE for agitare (v. Paul. ex Fest. p. 23 Müll. N. cr.), and the still common abbreviation of the names Gaius and Gneus in C and Cn.--At a later period (acc. to Plut. Qu. Rom. p. 277 D and 278 E, by means of a freedman of Spurius Carvilius Ruga, about the beginning of the second Punic war) a slight graphic alteration was made in the C, which introduced into the Roman orthography the letter G (on the old monuments C); thus we have in the S. C. de Bacchanal.: MAGISTER, MAGISTRATVM, FIGIER, GNOSCIER, AGRO; on the other hand, the orthography GNAIVOD PATRE PROGNATVS on the first Epitaph of the Scipios, which dates before that time, indicates either incorrectness in the copying or a later erection of the monument.

Lexicographic order in Hungarian

The text says: "For example, the correct lexicographic order is baa, baá, bab, bac, bacs, ..., baz, bazs, báa, báá, báb, bác, bács."

Actually, the correct lexicographic order is baa, baá, báa, báá, bab, báb, bac, bác, bacs, bács, ..., baz, bazs. "A" and "á" are always treated equally, except in cases when they are the only distinguishing factor between two words. This rule is also applied to the pairs "e" and "é", "i" and "í", "o" and "ó", "ö" and "ő", "u" and "ú", "ü" and "ű". (But NOT to "o" and "ö" for example, as they are completely different sounds.)

Umlaut in Spanish?

I know the umlaut is most common in the Germanic lanuages, but is it ever used in Spanish? Example: Mayagüez and the Yagüez River in Puerto Rico.

It's used above the "u" after "g" and before "e" or "i" when the "u" is not silent. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 21:14, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Except that it's not an umlaut (change of sound), but a diaeresis (divider). It indicates that gu or gu do not form a digraph, but are two separate letters. −Woodstone 21:25, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Its not an 'umlaut' in French either, the vowel doesn't change sounds. Its a diaeresis (fr. trema). Its not just the 'e' either (e.g. naive). DavidRF 06:45, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

"as used in English"?!

The "Letters of the alphabet" section is missing K and W. Maybe this is the "original" Latin alphabet (debatable), but it's certainly not, as it claims, "the Latin alphabet as used in English". Hairy Dude 19:25, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Broken Image

The image at Image:Older Latin glyphs.png that is referenced on this page appears to be gone if it ever actually existed.

Fhenning 00:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

POV 26

The opening para says "It comprises 26 letters". Given what follows this seems like English-language POV. Is there some other authority to appeal to for this number: Unicode perhaps? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Joestynes (talkcontribs) 20:02, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree and am requesting a citation --PBS 15:23, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

The recent addition of a source (Alphabet) does not confirm that the Latin Alphabet has 26 letter what it says it that it had 26 letters for English:

W was invented by Norman scribes to represent the Anglo-Saxon sound [w] (a semivowel) and to differentiate it from the [v] sound. At the end of the 15th c. the alphabet was finally fixed as consisting of 26 letters:

But it goes on to say:

During the Middle Ages, with the Christianization of Central and Northern Europe by the Roman Catholic Church, the Latin alphabet was adopted with some modifications to many Germanic, Slavic and Ugro-Finnic language.

Which implies that it has more or less letter depending on the language. Why is English a special case? I think a clear reference is needed to argue that the Latin Alphabet has 26 letters, neither more or less. --PBS 02:05, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I think more than a reference is needed to argue that that the Latin alphabet has 26 letters. Of course there exist references but they are in my opinion suffering from the same English POV. Stefán Ingi 09:01, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem with the number of letters in the alphabet is that there is no universally accepted "alphabet commission", so we have to take into account the practices in various languages (and countries). I think we can safely state without references that the basic Latin alphabet as used in modern times has 26 letters, but the actual number can differ, as mentioned in the article already. -- Jordi· 12:52, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

This is really not a correct statement at all. The letters W and K, for example, have really been considered part of most Romance alphabets (i.e. languages whose alphabets logically have the most right to be called Latin). Italian does not have the letters J, X, and Y either. The modern 26-letter English alphabet is effectively a compromise between the Germanic alphabets of the middle ages and the French alphabet. Because of the economic influence of the U.K. and the U.S. and the standardizing effects of modern technology, most countries that use Latin variants for their writing now tend to recognize all the English letters (although some letters are still considered "foreign") and are gradually getting rid of their remaining non-English letters. Nevertheless, to say that "English is winning the battle of the alphabets and that means that English is THE Latin alphabet" is a wrong attitude IMHO. One should either say that the expression "Latin alphabet" has no strict meaning or else define the "Latin alphabet" as being one of the alphabets used to write the Latin language and discuss the fact that we now use modifications of the Latin alphabet today to transcribe modern languages as a separate issue. --Mcorazao 02:51, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

As I have just appended{{fact}} and {{POV-statement}} to the phrase "The basic alphabet comprises 26 letters", with the comment in the history of the article"26 letters, [citation needed][neutrality disputed] See talk page section Talk:Latin alphabet#POV 26. The English Alphabet has 26 letters not necessarily the Latin, needs a better source". I have moved this section to the bottom as it is still a hot topic. --PBS 13:52, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Some thoughts:
  1. The letters K, Y, and Z were used in Classical Latin (if only sporadically, in the former case).
  2. The distinction between I, U and J, V was not made in classical Latin, but it has become so widespread in the modern languages written with the Latin alphabet that no one hesitates in including J and V in the alphabet (or is that J and U?...)
  3. W is the only problematic case. It is used by several modern languages spelled with the Latin alphabet, but it's not as widespread. If you just count European languages, you have: English, Welsh, German, Dutch, and Polish. Nevertheless, W is used quite a lot in non-European languages which have recently begun to be written with the Latin alphabet, such as Swahili...
  4. In sum, I understand those who object to the inclusion of W in the Latin alphabet (why not count the ligatures Œ and Æ, or the Scandinavian letter Ø, as well?...), but it seems that W is a tad more used than those other special characters, and that could justify its inclusion in the alphabet. Just my $0.02. FilipeS 15:48, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

It seems like all languages that use the Latin Alphabet have at least these letters:


There might be further cuts, I don't know.Cameron Nedland 03:37, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Could we use a form of words like this (not sure about K):
The core of the modern latin alphabet comprises 24 25 letters with some additions like "K" and "W" for several modern languages European languages, and some subtractions in others, like "J", "K", "X" and "Y" in Italian.
--PBS 11:18, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Vietnamese does not use the letter F. :-) FilipeS 22:37, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm stupid, but please don't write that all over my userpage. Also Toki Pona doesn't use F either. But here's an idea:
A B C D E F H I K L M N O P Q R S T U X Z Þ ƿ
G is just a C with a bar, J is just a variant of I, V and W are just variants of U, Y is just a U on top of an I, and other special characters are modified forms of the characters above.Cameron Nedland 16:08, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Historically, Y is not a U on top of an I: it's a borrowing of the Greek ypsilon. — Gwalla | Talk 22:31, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

I think the assertion that the Latin alphabet consists of 26 letters should just be dropped. We shouldn't claim any specific number of letters outside of the context of a specific language. There is no reason why W should be considered any more "fundamental" than Þ, for example: both are later additions, and neither is used by all languages using the Latin alphabet. — Gwalla | Talk 22:31, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Who claims that the " The default Latin alphabet is the Roman, supplemented with G, J, U, W, Y, Z, and lower-case variants:" (Which brings us back to the 26) because the conversation above seems to imply that it is not. So if this claim is to be made then it needs a citation --PBS 08:28, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The source does not say that there is 26 letter in the Latin alphabet what it says is "if we could use time-lapse photography to revisit the development of the 26-letter Latin alphabet used to transcribe English". For example in an article on Italian it could just as easily be written "if we could use time-lapse photography to revisit the development of the 21-letter Latin alphabet used to transcribe Italian". --PBS 11:56, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

"The Latin Alphabet" & its extended life

I noticed the "The Latin Alphabet" table/diagram which appears on the page for this topic and elsewhere, and wondered if the name shouldn't be expanded to "The English Latin Alphabet" or perhaps "The Simple Latin Alphabet." Just as the original alphabet from Rome has been expanded, that process has continued and in some ways accelerated. We all know that - looking at diacritics and extended characters in the diverse uses this writing system has been put to - but perhaps it would do well to acknowledge that fact implicitly in such titles. "The Latin Alphabet" seems too final a pronouncement, and artuably neither accurate nor NPOV... --A12n 20:07, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

It reflects current scholarly usage. Extensions are detailed at Alphabets derived from the Latin. --Pjacobi 20:16, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Well there are a few of issues here. First, the Alphabets derived from the Latin page (thanks for the reference) uses the term "Basic Latin Alphabet" which seems to me to be more accurate and NPOV than "The Latin Alphabet." So there is the added issue of consistency within Wikipedia. Second, re academic usage I won't argue the point (not time to research it now). It may turn out to be a larger debate - to what degree are all characters (diacritics, etc.) "created equal"? - some are obviously older and more widely used, some are very limited in use, others range inbetween. Why the 26 that happen to be used in English and not some other number? Etc. That gets beyond where we need to discuss here, but for me points to the need to specify what "Latin alphabet" other than "The". (I haven't referenced other language editions of Wikipedia but that might also be informative.) --A12n 17:25, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Delisted GA

This article has been delisted for the following reasons:

Hope this helps. Tarret 01:32, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Cumae, or the Etruscans?

The article says:

It is generally held that the Latins adopted the western variant of the Greek alphabet in the 7th century BC from Cumae, a Greek colony in southern Italy. Roman legend credited the introduction to one Evander, son of the Sibyl, supposedly 60 years before the Trojan war, but there is no historically sound basis to this tale. From the Cumae alphabet, the Etruscan alphabet was derived and the Latins finally adopted 21 of the original 26 Etruscan letters.

This is a little unclear. I have always read that the Romans had inherited the alphabet from the Etruscans. Is the text supposed to mean that the Etruscans themselves had got the alphabet from Cumae?... FilipeS 15:30, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes. They got it from the Greeks by way of the Etruscans. — Gwalla | Talk 05:57, 30 November 2006 (UTC)