|−|== Helps with English Handwriting == |+|
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Revision as of 15:01, 4 November 2011
Since around the 9th century, English has been written in the Latin alphabet, which replaced Anglo-Saxon runes. The spelling system, or orthography, is multilayered, with elements of French, Latin and Greek spelling on top of the native Germanic system; it has grown to vary significantly from the phonology of the language. The spelling of words often diverges considerably from how they are spoken.
Unlike most other Germanic languages, English has almost no diacritics except in foreign loanwords (like the acute accent in café), and in the uncommon use of a diaeresis mark (often in formal writing) to indicate that two vowels are pronounced separately, rather than as one sound (e.g. naïve, Zoë). Words such as décor, café, résumé/resumé, entrée, fiancée and naïve are frequently spelled both with or without diacritics. Some accented words are used in both male and female versions, for example fiancée (female) and fiancé (male). Both spellings are mostly with the accent, but they may be written without the accent. The female word née in English refers to "maiden name" or literally "born as". The male version né is seldom used for a man, unless in rare cases where a man had changed his name by deed poll or on marriage or as an alias.
Some English words retain diacritics to distinguish them from others, such as resumé, exposé, lamé, öre, pâté, piqué, and rosé, though these are sometimes also dropped (for example, melée/melee and résumé/resumé, is often spelt resume in the United States (as the US equivalent of curriculum vitae). To clarify pronunciation, a small number of loanwords may employ a diacritic that does not appear in the original word, such as maté, from Spanish yerba mate, or Malé, the capital of the Maldives, following the French usage.
Here is a comparison of the upper case (majuscule) and lower case (minuscule) versions of each letter used in the English language. The exact representation will vary according to the font used.