Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sfr, Jul 31, 2008.
æ What is this symbol that looks like an "a" connected to an "e"?
the ash, an early English ligature representing a vowel sound like that of a in modern bad. The long ǣ continued in use until about 1250, but was finally replaced by e. The short æ was given up by 1150, being replaced usually by a but sometimes by e.
There are many letters no longer in use which once had their place in the English Toolbox. From Wikipedia:
The English language was first written in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc runic alphabet, in use from the 5th century. This alphabet was brought to what is now England, along with the proto-form of the language itself, by Anglo-Saxon settlers. Very few examples of this form of written Old English have survived, these being mostly short inscriptions or fragments.
The Latin alphabet, introduced by Christian missionaries, began to replace the Anglo-Saxon futhorc from about the 7th century onwards, although the two continued in parallel for some time. Futhorc influenced the Latin alphabet by providing it with the letters thorn (Þ, þ) and wynn (Ƿ, ƿ). The letter eth (Ð, ð) was later devised as a modification of d, and finally yogh (Ȝ, ȝ) was created by Norman scribes from the insular g in Old English and Irish, and used alongside their Carolingian g.
The ligature Æ (æ), for ae, was adopted as a letter its own right, named æsc ("ash") after a futhorc rune. In very early Old English Œ (œ), for oe, also appeared as a distinct letter named œðel ("ethel"), again after a rune. Additionally, the ligature w (double-u), for vv, was in use.
This symbol is still used in phonetics, for example, in this vowel chart:
lol, did you just answer your own question sfr?
It appears as much, doesn't it.
'ae' as separate letters are still used in words like 'aesthetical' and 'anaesthesia' and 'Aegean'... and some publishers' house style may call for the old conjoined one to be used in such cases...
Yeah, I ended up doing that.
The letter really died out because the kindergardners went on strike and refused to write that letter. They said it was hard enough trying to do 'a' and 'e' and doing them together was just too much. Sadly, the school board gave in, and thus left a bunch of confused rest of us.
Wreybies, thanks for the interesting little alphabet lesson. Probably the most interesting thing I've read all day.
Question. How do you type that letter?
You could pick it from Character Map in Windows Accessories. Not quick, but if all else fails...
Alt0230 will provide the character - for a full list of Alt comands see this link:
The Danes still use that character (and it represents roughly the same sound as in English).
Separate names with a comma.