This article alphabet encyclopedia IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. The same letters constitute the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
The English language was first written in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc runic alphabet, in use from the 5th century. This alphabet was brought to what is now England, along with the proto-form of the language itself, by Anglo-Saxon settlers. The Latin script, introduced by Christian missionaries, began to replace the Anglo-Saxon futhorc from about the 7th century, although the two continued in parallel for some time. Norman scribes from the insular g in Old English and Irish, and used alongside their Carolingian g.
In the year 1011, a monk named Byrhtferð recorded the traditional order of the Old English alphabet. English, and was used in non-final position up to the early 19th century. Outside of professional papers on specific subjects that traditionally use ligatures in loanwords, ligatures are seldom used in modern English. These are not independent letters, but rather allographs.
Diacritic marks mainly appear in loanwords such as naïve and façade. As such words become naturalised in English, there is a tendency to drop the diacritics, as has happened with old borrowings such as hôtel, from French. Informal English writing tends to omit diacritics because of their absence from the keyboard, while professional copywriters and typesetters tend to include them. An acute, grave, or diaeresis may also be placed over an “e” at the end of a word to indicate that it is not silent, as in saké. In general, these devices are often not used even where they would serve to alleviate some degree of confusion. Great Vowel Shift, shifting all Middle English long vowels.
Affects A, B, C, D, E, G, H, I, K, O, P, T, and presumably Y. Some groups of letters, such as pee and bee, or em and en, are easily confused in speech, especially when heard over the telephone or a radio communications link. The letter most commonly used in English is E. The least used letter is Z. The frequencies shown in the table may differ in practice according to the type of text. English alphabet, as in Byrhtferð’s list of letters in 1011.