Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 27th Letter of the Alphabet



Did you know that at one time the alphabet actually had 27 letters? Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't. What was that 27th letter? It was the ampersand (&). Although we still use the ampersand today, it's no longer regarded as a letter in the alphabet, it's been reclassified as an abbreviation or punctuation. 

In the 1800's when children recited the alphabet they ended with X,Y,Z, and per se, and. Per se actually means by itself,  so what the children were actually saying is X,Y,Z, and by itself and. Over time, and per se and, said quickly over and over resulted in new word: ampersand. 

After learning how and per se and became ampersand, I wonder if L,M,N,O,P will one day be it's own word, too.

Did you know the alphabet once had 27 letters? Are you a fan of the ampersand? Can you see LMNOP becoming an everyday word?

8 comments:

Nick Wilford said...

I never knew the origin of "ampersand" before! Um, how about "elemenopee" as a word then? :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I had no idea! Fascinating.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I never knew that or where the name came from. I wonder about your prediction. I just hope kids keep learning the alphabet.

LD Masterson said...

Interesting. I never thought of & as a letter. What would be the phonetic representation?

If you listen to a child recite the alphabet, you know LMNOP is already a single word. At least that's how it's pronounced. *grin*

Angela Verges said...

This is a new discovery for me.

Susanne Drazic said...

I never knew that.

cleemckenzie said...

How interesting! I love learning about things like this.

Margo Kelly said...

Seriously!? I had no idea! Thank you for making me feel smarter today. ;)

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