In the wider sense, an alphabet is a script that is segmental at the phoneme level—that is, it has separate glyphs for individual sounds and not for larger units such as syllables or words. In the narrower sense, some scholars distinguish "true" alphabets from two other types of segmental script, abjads and abugidas. These three differ from each other in the way they treat vowels:
Early, or Common, Germanic Teutonicused in northern Europe before about ad; Anglo-Saxon, or Anglian, used in Britain from the 5th or 6th century to about the 12th century ad; and Nordic, or Scandinavian, used from the 8th to about the 12th or 13th century ad in Scandinavia and Iceland.
After the 12th century, runes were still used occasionally for charms and memorial inscriptions until the 16th or 17th century, chiefly in Scandinavia. The sounds of the first six letters were f, u, th, a, r, and k, respectively, giving the alphabet its name: The Anglo-Saxon script added letters to the futhark to represent sounds of Old English that did not occur in the languages that had used the Early Germanic script.
Anglo-Saxon had 28 letters, and after about ad it had There were also some slight differences in letter shape. The Scandinavian languages were even richer in sounds than Old English; but, instead of adding letters to the futhark to represent the new sounds, the users of the Nordic script compounded the letter values, using the same letter to stand for more than one sound—e.
This practice eventually resulted in the reduction of the futhark to 16 letters. More than 4, runic inscriptions and several runic manuscripts are extant.
Approximately 2, of these come from Swedenthe remainder being from NorwayDenmark and Schleswig, Britain, Iceland, various islands off the coast of Britain and Scandinavia, and other countries of Europe, including France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:Kindergarten Writing Worksheets Learning to Write the Alphabet Our kindergarten writing worksheets offer both cursive and print letters.
Writing the alphabet takes some motor skills. It is important for kindergarten students to develop this skill early so that they can master writing the alphabet. Alphabets. Alphabets, or phonemic alphabets, are sets of letters, usually arranged in a fixed order, each of which represents one or more phonemes, both consonants and vowels, in the language they are used to write.
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