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آموزش زبانهای خارجی : الفبای زبان انگلیسی – Learning Second Language , English Alphabet

English speaking countries mapthe English Speaking countries

آموزش زبانهای خارجی : الفبای زبان انگلیسی

Learning Second Language : English Alphabet

Origins of Alphabetic Writing

Dating back nearly four thousand years, early alphabetic writing, as opposed to other early forms of writing like cuneiform (which employed the use of different wedge shapes) or hieroglyphics (which primarily used pictographic symbols), relied on simple lines to represent spoken sounds. Scholars attribute its origin to a little known Proto-Sinatic, Semitic form of writing developed in Egypt between 1800 and 1900 BC.

Building on this ancient foundation, the first widely used alphabet was developed by the Phoenicians about seven hundred years later. Consisting of 22 letters, all consonants, this Semitic language became used throughout the Mediterranean, including in the Levant, the Iberian peninsula, North Africa and southern Europe.

The Greeks built on the Phoenician alphabet by adding vowels sometime around 750 BC. Considered the first true alphabet, it was later appropriated by the Latins (later to become the Romans) who combined it with notable Etruscan characters including the letters “F” and “S”. Although ancient Latin omitted G, J, V (or U)*, W, Y and Z, by about the third century, the Roman alphabet looked very similar to our modern English, containing every letter except J, U (or V)* and W.

[*V and U have a complicated shared history. Both were used throughout the Middle Ages, although they were considered a single letter until quite recently.]

Old English

English evolved from the Germanic languages brought to Britain by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and other Germanic tribes from about the 5th Century AD. These languages are known collectively as Anglo-Saxon or Old English, and began to appear in writing during the 5th century AD.

English acquired vocabulary from Old Norse after Norsemen starting settling in parts of Britain, particularly in the north and east, from the 9th century. To this day varieties of English spoken in northern England contain more words of Norse origin than other varieties of English. They are also said to retain some aspects of pronunciation from Old Norse.

Middle English

The Norman invasion of 1066 brought with it a deluge of Norman and Latin vocabulary, and for the next three centuries English became a mainly oral language spoken by ordinary people, while the nobility spoke Norman, which became Anglo-Norman, and the clergy spoke Latin. When English literature began to reappear in the 13th century the language had lost the inflectional system of Old English, and the spelling had changed under Norman influence. For example, the Old English letters þ (thorn) and ð (eth) were replaced by th. This form of English is known as Middle English.

Modern English

By about the 15th century Middle English had evolved into Early Modern English, and continued to absorb numerous words from other languages, especially from Latin and Greek. Printing was introduced to Britain by William Caxton in around 1469, and as a result English became increasingly standardised. The first English dictionary, Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall, was published in 1604.

During the medieval and early modern periods English spread from England to Wales, Scotland and other parts of the British Isles, and also to Ireland. From the 17th century English was exported to other parts of the world via trade and colonization, and it developed into new varities wherever it went. English-based pidgins and creoles also developed in many places, such as on islands in the Caribbean and Pacific, and in parts of Africa.

English Alphabet

The phonetic alphabet

The phonetic alphabet

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