What was the Middle English alphabet
Learn the English alphabet
The English alphabet is important to fully master the English language. If you know the individual letters and can name them, spelling will be easy for you and you will be able to communicate better. We explain the English alphabet with pronunciation and special features!
The English alphabet at a glance
Today's english The alphabet consists of 26 letters and is based on the Latin script. Each letter is present twice, as upper and lower case letters. As in German, the spelling or typographical representation depends on the font used and differs from the cursive font.
The English alphabet has 21 consonants and the five vowels A, E, I, O and U. In contrast to the German alphabet, there are no umlauts.
Incidentally, English is one of them most spoken languages worldwide: In 2020, 1,132 million people will speak English.
The English alphabet: names and pronunciation of the letters
In the following table you will find the 26 letters of the English alphabet with their names and pronunciation in British and American English in the phonetic transcription of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
Differences in pronunciation between American and British English
The pronunciation of the five letters O, Q, R, Y, and Z differs in American and British English. There is a major difference in the letter Z: while Americans say “zee”, the pronunciation “zed” is predominant in British English. Voiced pronunciation is important in both cases.
The British pronounce the R like a vowel with an open mouth. The American pronunciation, alveolar or retroflex, on the other hand, sits further back with an audible trill. The American O also seems to transition from an open vowel to a semi-closed U.
Do you want to work on your pronunciation? We explain to you how to get a british accent!
More characters in the English alphabet
The ampersand is also known as “Kaufmännisches Und” in German and is called “Ampersand” in English. The typographical representation as “&” results from a contracted spelling, a ligature, the letters “e” and “t”, the Latin word “et” for “and”. The abbreviation “& c” stands for “et cetera”.
The ampersand or ampersand was long considered the 27th letter of the English alphabet until around 1835. In modern English, however, the English alphabet only has 26 letters and “&” is no longer the 27th letter.
30 fun facts about the English language
The most common diacritical marks in English are the two accents acute and grave accents (é and è), circumflex (â, î and ô), tilde (ñ), diaries (ö, ü and ï) and cedilla ç. However, these are additional characters, not independent letters.
Diacritical marks often denote loan words such as “naïve” or “façade”. In common usage these characters are often left out and the spellings “naive” and “facade” are also accepted. The French spelling of “hôtel” is also no longer common, as the English word “hotel” originated from it. Real foreign words like “soupçon” have kept the diacritical mark.
10 reasons why German and English are similar
It is also common to identify different words to avoid confusion, such as “résumé” and “resume”. An older spelling uses diacritical marks to clarify the number of syllables in a word. “Cursed” is the monosyllabic past tense of the verb “curse”, while “cursèd” is a two-syllable adjective. There is a parallel between “learned” and “learnèd”. In the literature there is also the spelling with diariesis: “a learnëd man”.
The diariesis can also indicate that two consecutive vowels are not a digraph, i.e. a single sound. The double O in “coop” is pronounced like one sound, while in “zoölogist” and “coöperation” or “zoëtrope” two sounds can be heard. The diariesis and a spelling like “naïve” is generally only used by scientific publications or large newspapers.
The apostrophe is also not part of the English alphabet, but marks the genitive as well as contracted words or plural forms: “Marcel’s coffee” or “can’t” for “cannot” and “All these words end with a’s”.
Our 10 favorite podcasts in English
Old English and Middle English letters
The Old English alphabet consisted of 29 letters, namely the 24 letters of the Latin alphabet including the ampersand and five other letters represented by runes:
- The long S: ſ
- Eth: Ð and ð
- Thorn: Þ and þ
- Wynn: Ƿ and ƿ
- Ash: ᚫ, later Æ and æ
The following were also found in Middle English:
- Ethel: Œ and œ
- Yogh: Ȝ and ȝ
The best insults in English
More facts about the English alphabet
- The word alphabet itself is made up of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. As in German there is the expression “Das ABC” in English as “the ABC”.
- In written English there is an unusually high number of digraphs, i.e. connections of two letters to a sound: ch, ci, ck, gh, ng, ph, qu, rh, sc, sh, th, ti, wh, wr and zh. However, these do not represent independent letters of the alphabet.
- The two vowels “A” and “I” are separate words in English: the indefinite article “a” and the pronoun “I”.
- Compared to today's English, the consonants J and W and the vowel U were missing in Old English.
- “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog” is a so-called pangram, a holo-alphabetic sentence that contains all letters of the alphabet. A German equivalent would be "Twelve boxers chase Viktor across the great Sylt dike".
Are you interested in other special features of the English language? We explain to you funny English words that you may never have heard of!
- What is the psychology of a genius
- Is it normal for CRPS to spread?
- What is the best used 4x4
- Should I answer my ex-girlfriend's calls
- What is Spain's current policy towards refugees?
- Where did the violin frog come from?
- What is royally interrupted
- Who was the most violent Roman god?
- Who gives parents or grandparents better advice?
- What are some hot Disha Patani pictures
- You cannot access certain websites
- Can someone love someone on meth
- How is complaining different from complaining
- How long will the US oil reserves last
- Which HDMI versions can transmit audio?
- What is meant by absolute uncertainty
- What is inter-bleeding time
- What is cultural activity
- What enables computers to perform multiple tasks
- How high can a Loewe jump
- Where can I buy ukulele in Japan
- Who discovered the integrated circuit chip
- What is BOT of course
- Do you like being a Serbian citizen?