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5 Letters that Almost Were in the Alphabet

A, B, C, D… Yohg?

Strange but true: At least a dozen letters were nearly included in the modern alphabet, but didn’t quite make the cut. Expand your knowledge of the English language while you discover something interesting, engaging or even oddball to share as freelancer writing content.

So without further ado, meet the almost-letters of the alphabet:

Yogh: This letter looks like a 3 and makes a sound like a hairball got stuck in your throat. The letter yogh was replaced by the letter ‘y’ and ‘gh,’ the latter of which was abandoned as well.

Ampersand: The long-ignored 27th letter of the alphabet, symbolizing “and,” made a graphical comeback thanks to texting and computerized messaging. In the 1916 book of nursery rhymes “The Real Mother Goose,” the ABC song is as follows:

“A, B, C, and D, pray, playmates, agree. E, F, and G, well, so it shall be. J, K, and L, in peace we will dwell. M, N, and O, to play let us go. P, Q, R, and S, love may we possess. W, X, and Y, will not quarrel or die. Z, and ampersand, go to school at command.”

That: Just as the ampersand stands for “and,” “that” is a symbol standing for “that.” It looks like a lowercase t with a lowercase p attached. You might see it today in a religious institute where the symbol still coincides with the official letters of the alphabet.

Ash: Represented by the “‘ae” symbol, ash was used in Greek texts. This letter nearly made it into the modern alphabet, and it sounds like the “a” in cat. In fact, the letter is commonly seen in modern phonetic transcription.

Thorn: We’ve all seen that Old English word “ye,” but not everyone knows it isn’t actually ye. The word ye was symbolized by a thorn in the Old English rune alphabet, which is called Futhark. The thorn looks like Pp and is pronounced with a “th” in words like thimble, which would make “ye” actually “the” and not at all like the ye we thought it to be.

So, if you love drawing letters in fancy ways, you can add these alphabetical wannabes to your arsenal. Otherwise, as a freelancer writing content, if you see these letters creeping about while doing your research, now you can forge ahead as you understand their meanings.

Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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Freelancer Miranda B

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