History

Why Is The Alphabet In ABC Order? No One Knows

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We can all sort things by alphabetical order. We all know our ABCs. But no one knows why the alphabet itself is arranged alphabetically. There is no rhyme or reason — the order of the letters seems to be arbitrary. From what historians understand, the order of the alphabet is the way it is because, well, it's always been that way.

The basic order of the alphabet has remained more or less the same since the time of its ancestor: the Phoenician alphabet from about the 14th century, which had only nineteen characters, all of which were consonants. This alphabet predecessor might even be traced all the way back to North Semitic, a family of languages which developed around 1700 BC. The Greeks used the Phoenician alphabet as a model for their alphabet, which saw the addition of vowels. Then, this alphabet became the model for the Etruscan alphabet, which is what the Roman and all Western alphabets were modeled after. Over time, letters were dropped and added to this basic structure of the alphabet based on usage. Find out more about the alphabet's order with the video below.

Why Is The Alphabet In Alphabetical Order?

And more completely arbitrary things.

How To Alphabetize

How do you put numerals in alphabetical order?

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The International Phonetic Alphabet

How to translate any word or letter from any language into sound.

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