who/how alphabetized the alphabet for the English language? Is it random or is there some sort of guiding principle I’m unaware of? Bonus points if there’s actually a ‘better’ alphabetical order out there?

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who/how alphabetized the alphabet for the English language? Is it random or is there some sort of guiding principle I’m unaware of? Bonus points if there’s actually a ‘better’ alphabetical order out there?

In: 4505

There is a better alphabetical order. Some languages have their letters in order of how many strokes it takes to form the letter. Big fan of that system.

The order of Roman letters, Greek letters, Cyrillic, and Arabic and Hebrew and related scripts all date back to the Phoenician script, where it seems to appear out of nowhere with no apparent rationale. As far as we can tell, it’s entirely arbitrary. (All scripts derived from Phoenician whose ancestry isn’t via Brahmi have this order; in Brahmi and its descendants the letters are organised by the properties of the sounds they represent.)

I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a ‘better’ alphabetical order – what would make one order ‘better’ than another? There certainly are ways to order letters in a script that aren’t arbitrary, but it’s not clear if those would make ordering things work ‘better’ than any other order.

The alphabet used for English is based on the Latin alphabet. If you look at the classic latin alphabet that are used since the 1st century BC it has 23 letters compared to the 26 English used today J, U and W is missing

Old and Middle English ade some additional letter like Thorn that was Þ þ.

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If you look back at the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet) the Old Latin alphabet hade 21 letters that looked like they do today. Go back and you end up at [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Italic_scripts](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Italic_scripts) that for example, the Etruscans used, It looks more like runes to us

They are based on the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet) and back further to the

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet) We are now around 1000 BC and it’s origin is Egyptian hieroglyphs.

So the shape of the letter is what the Romans used over 2 millennia ago. The order has its origin in the Phoenicians around 3 millennia ago. There might have been a specific reason for the order but you have to ask someone that lived millennia ago.

I’m biased but I think the devnagari (hindi) alphabet system is very cool. Clean and phonetic.