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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2006-10-08 22:05
Subject: #62 Lyn Davies: A is for Ox
Security: Public
Tags:books, reviews
Lyn Davies: A is for Ox

Hardback in slipcase: 128 pages
Publisher: The Folio Society (2006)
ISBN-10: None
Category(ies): Linguistics

This is a short history of the alphabet, covering the question of where our letters (both upper and lower case) come from. (It's interesting to note that the proper W didn't become fully accepted until the 18th century.)

This is a light scholarly work, not a deep treatment. It covers writing systems more briefly than other books, but it is easy to read and still quite educational, even the parts showing the contortions of a letter in its evolution from (perhaps) Egyptian, through Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, before the Roman cursives and Carolingian Uncials give rise to the minuscules. Being a book about the English alphabet, it doesn't attempt to cover even the slight variations in the Nordic countries, let alone other sister alphabets such as Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew.

A charming history of our alphabet.
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