Sorting the alphabet by alphabetical order

Friday, 22 May, 2009

Your questions answered on how the alphabet came to be in its current format and order.

The modern English alphabet is the 23-letter Latin assortment with three additions hastened by the invention of movable type. W starts showing up in English letter lists in the 16th century, replacing the previous literal double U (or V) that denoted our current W sound. Naturally it was placed next to the then-undifferentiated U/V. The I/J and U/V cleavages came later – though the different shapes had existed for centuries, they weren’t considered distinct letters in English until around 1700.

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