Beautiful chart shows how the English alphabet evolved


Originally published at:


That chart suffers from survivor bias. What about Þ, Ð,and ſ ?


Anyone know what happened between Ancient Latin and Roman? It is like there was an influential scribe who happened to be dyslexic - B, C, D, E, F, K, L, P, S all flipped. (And how did I and Z get swapped?)


Don’t forget &


Definitely needs some mention of Þ Ð from English and their disappearance due to the introduction of continental type which had no need of those characters.

It’s still nice to see them living a happy, free range existence in Iceland.


Making the letters colorful on a black background definitely ups the cool factor, but didn’t my 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica have all the same information?


Behold, English as she is spoke


don’t forget Ƿ


Interestingly, several of the Arabic numerals rotated when they came to Europe. So ٢ became 2, ٣ became 3, and ٧ became 7. I have seen it argued that this was because they were originally used on physical counters rather than written on paper to do calculations.


World Book Encyclopedias first page was and evolution from the Phoenician to modern for whatever letter the book was covering.

I liked that and learned about the Phoenicians too

Edit: Though I must add that third grade Eric read it as Peh Ho nikians


You missed Ȝ :frowning:



And before anyone complains:
“Shouldn’t you have titled this ‘Evolution of the Latin Alphabet?’”

Oh, I hate when someone gets between me and my pedantry.


The ampersand is an evolved, cursive “et.”


Is it really? I only ever knew it by name, as a degenerative “and, per se and”


Yep. Some fonts show an & where you can clearly see the “et” letters, such as shown on the left side of the bottom row of examples here:


As much as I enjoyed that book, how is it relevant?


Thé au harem d’Archiméde?


What do those letters sound like?


I suspect you replied to the wrong comment


et is, per se, and