Letters that didn't make the English alphabet

Take a look at:

The letter "Thorn"

The letter "Ash"

The letter "Ethel"

The letter "Eng"

The letter "Wynn"

Those are some well-known letters that aren't included in the English alphabet, and some of them are used in other languages. I acknowledge that the letter "thorn" is used in modern Ielandic alphabets, and the letter "ash" is used in numerous Nordic languages (such as Norwegian, Danish, Faroese, and Icelandic as well).

What other letters (if there are any other ones) didn't make the English alphabet, yet might be included in other similar languages? Thanks!

August 6, 2017


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Interesting post!

This letter isn't used in any other languages, but it once was the 27th letter of the alphabet. Could you believe that the word "and" was a letter once, according to an 1863 "Dixie primer"? It was. Also, fun fact, an interesting word came about because of and's addition to the alphabet:

our lexicon developed another saying: “X, Y, and Z, and by itself, ‘and'” — but instead of saying “by itself,” the Latin phrase per se came into favor. The result? “And per se, and,” or, muttered quickly by a disinterested student, “ampersand.”


August 6, 2017

I didn't know "and" was a letter once; thanks, SilverCharacter! :D

August 6, 2017

Technically, it was the letter "&", not the word "and" itself.

August 7, 2017

Well, from the article, I got the impression that it was written "&" and said as "and". Did you find more data? :)

August 7, 2017

'&' is merely a stylised ligature of 'Et' (which is more obvious in some fonts than others), hence it saves one from typing 'et' in '&c.'

August 8, 2017

Eth is a counterpart to thorn, Ð or ð.

Sho would probably belong in a thread like this for Greek. It is from the Sogdian (sokhthian) alphabet and is written like thorn, Þ or þ.

August 6, 2017

"Eng" is used very often to transcribe Native American languages, interestingly. I know for a fact Lakota uses eng in writing.

I think ethel is occasionally seen in French too.

And you did skip a few Latin alphabet letters that aren't in Modern English.

Ezh (used in Sami and African languages, and transcribing Middle German)

Yogh (used in Middle English along with Thorn and Wynn)

Ezsett (used in Modern German)

August 6, 2017

I've seen plenty of older books in English that use a stylised ligature of a long and a short s (ſs); they are not really ezsetts, however, as ß began as a ligature of 'ſz', which is not the same letter.

August 7, 2017

Eng was never really used in English. The main six letters that were a major part of English at some point are thorn, eth, ash, ethel, yogh, and wynn. You could also count the original double-u, whose shape was supplanted by the German double-v after the invention of the printing press, but it still retains its original name and sound.

August 7, 2017

I didn't know half of these existed in other languages. Thank you!

August 6, 2017

If they ever have Old English, we will see these again.

August 7, 2017

Wasn't Thorn and Ash in Old English?

Another letter that doesn't exist in English is the letter Å. It sounds like somewhere between "oh" and "aww".

August 7, 2017
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