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The Missing 12 Letters of the Our Alphabet

Man, it was hard enough remembering the current 26 – we could’ve had 12 additional letters to memorize!


For this particular letter, we can actually point to its exact origin. It was invented by a scribe named Alexander Gill the Elder in the year 1619 and meant to represent a velar nasal, which is found at the end of words like king, ring, thing, etc.

Gill intended for the letter to take the place of ng entirely (thus bringing would become briŋiŋ), and while it did get used by some scribes and printers, it never really took off—the Carolingian G was pretty well-established at that time and the language was beginning to morph into Modern English, which streamlined the alphabet instead of adding more to it. Eng did manage live on in the International Phonetic Alphabet, however.

You can read the rest at Mental Floss.
The only downside is we would’ve gotten extra Sesame Street characters to sing our extra letters …
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23 December 2012 Internet 15 Comments


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