Courtney Quinn December 15, 2020 Alphabet Worksheet
The Chinese still use this kind of writing in syllables. The trouble is that there are so many different syllables, it takes a scholar years to learn them all. In the Chinese language, there are more than fifty thousand and most of these are being used even today. A Chinese student does not master the writing of his language until he is beyond the age at which an American student may have graduated from college-say, twenty-five years old. In comparison with his thousands of characters, the American schoolboy has to learn only twenty-six letters. Therefore the next step in the development of the alphabet was to have a symbol, or letter, for each sound that was used in the language being spoken. There are many more sounds that a human being can use than we have in our alphabet, and the alphabets used for other languages have in them certain letters that we do not need in writing the English language. But also we have some letters that they do not need. No alphabet needs more than thirty or forty letters. A child can master these in a year or two. Writing with letters instead of with pictures is more than five thousand years old. Just as we got our alphabet from the Greeks, they got theirs from the Semitic peoples-the Phoenicians and the Jews and other ancient peoples who spoke Semitic languages.
The earliest use of the double letter "uu" was in the 7th and 8th centuries AD by English and Germanic writers. The modern name comes from the digraph "uu". W is the only English letter whose name is not pronounced with any of the sounds that the letter typically makes. It gained popularity during the 11th century and was well established by the 13th century for central-western European writers. However, it wasnt considered a part of the Latin alphabet proper even as late as the 16th century. The alphabet we use today has taken many centuries to develop to its modern form. There have been many twists, reversals in meaning, and changes to the sounds represented by particular symbols. Many languages have played a role in contributing both sounds and symbols. And this should not seem out of place, as language itself is a constantly evolving entity, responding to the varied changes in environment and contact with new peoples, cultures, and languages.
Another important contribution of the Romans came in the fourth century AD when someone came up with the idea of cutting the scrolls that had been in use until then, into oblong strips and then sewing the strips together down one side to form the first books. The advantage of a book is the ability to easily access information without unrolling an entire scroll. Early cuneiform letters are combinations of straight lines. Later, circles and arcs were included as the means to draw them became available. The Etruscan alphabet had 20 letters. The earliest Roman (Latin) alphabet had 21 letters. By the end of the Roman era, the letter Y and Z from the Greek letters Upsilon and Zeta had been added for a total of 23 letters. Then in medieval times the letters J, U, and W were added to bring the total to the 26 letters of the modern alphabet.
The Phoenician alphabet is acrophonic meaning each letter represents the initial sound of the name of the letter. For example, the last letter in the Phoenician is called "taw" or "tah" (meaning mark) and led to our current letter T with the same sound. The Greeks adapted that alphabet in the eighth century BC by adding vowels. The Etruscans borrowed the Greek alphabet which was later adopted by the Romans. These early scripts were most frequently written by pressing or scratching a stylus into a soft clay tablet which was then allowed to harden. By the first century BC, the Romans had developed several scripts. There was a cursive hand which could be quickly scratched into a wax tablet or written with a reed pen on paper made of papyrus. There was also a script called the Imperial Capital which was carved in stone and survives on monuments and buildings from the time. This script was also written using a brush on paper. All subsequent Western scripts have evolved from the Roman letters, in fact the Imperial Capital script serves as the basis for our modern capital letters.
Spoken languages influence and practical factors Without spoken language, writing would have definitely evolved differently as it has been.Writing itself is capable of evolving alone. But, in reality, speech influences its evolution significantly. Since they are associated, writing and speech influence each other . Writing and speech have their own characteristics, legibility for writing, pronounceability and comprehensibility for speech. During their interaction, they are affected by each other and in the mean time try to maintain their own characteristics. Almost all present-day writings are pronounceable. That seems evidence that writing represents speech. However, from another angle, we also see that almost all speeches are writable. It should be that they converge from independent origins into tight association, instead of simply one conforming to the other. Convergence is obvious in alphabetic systems but not in pictographic systems. Tighter association leads to greater inter-influence. Tightly-associated speech and writing achieve mutual benefits as writing stimulates more speaking and speech induces more writing. Via association, speech sounds came to be a major source of new word/expression creation. Some new symbols are created or borrowed to represent language sounds. Diacritics  are added to change sound value. These changes make writing representing speech better . As speech sounds can be represented by different written symbols/words/phases, the legibility (visual shapes) of symbols/words/phases is pondered over for choosing desired ones. During the interactions between speech and writing, sounds could affect the formation and evolution of writing systems. But the final determinant of its success is the visual legibility, fit for processing, easy to be memorized and systemized. The visual form, instead of association/interaction with spoken language, is the central and deterministic in writing systems evolution. Spoken language works as a bridge between meaning and writing. It is not central in evolution process. On the contrary, it attaches to its writing system for survival, growth and spread. We hypothesize that the writing systems evolve towards more-legible alphabetic systems by means of visual refinement, during interactions with speech sounds.
Many alphabet books have themes such as animals or toys which will also help teach your child the names of common objects. In fact, I still find it useful to know that there is such a thing as an X-ray fish when I play alphabet games with my children, a fact I learnt from my sons alphabet book. Next try talking to your child about other words that begin with the same letter. They will probably be very interested, for example, to know what letter their own name begins with. After a while you can start to ask them if they recognise any of the letters. Carry on singing the Alphabet Song with them until they can sing it for themselves. It is also useful to put up a poster with the alphabet on it in a room that the children spend a lot of time in, as this will further reinforce their alphabet learning.