Tag Archives: Letters & Symbols

Letters From Abroad: Ash, Slashed-O, A-Ring

If you were (according to my usual scenario) sedated, abducted and awoken in a foreign country, then a glimpse of a road-sign featuring all three of these special letters would mean you were in one of two places—Norway or Denmark. These are the three additional characters that go to make up the 29-letter Dano-Norwegian Alphabet—added, … Continue reading Letters From Abroad: Ash, Slashed-O, A-Ring

Letters From Abroad: Edh and Thorn

If you were transported unconscious to a foreign country and then wakened in the street, a glimpse of this plumber’s van would tell you exactly where you were—only Icelandic contains the two unusual letters that feature in that first word viðhaldsþjónusta (“maintenance services”). In fact, the Icelanders refer to their letters ð and þ as séríslenskur: “uniquely … Continue reading Letters From Abroad: Edh and Thorn

Letters From Abroad: Eng

I’ve always been fascinated by the way languages other than English use letters other than our familiar 26—not so much completely different alphabets, like Greek, Arabic or Cyrillic, but those little tweaks to the Latin alphabet, ranging from unusual diacritical marks to additional letters, that other languages use to communicate particular sounds to their readers. … Continue reading Letters From Abroad: Eng

The Long “S”

Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) That’s Johnson’s entry for the letter “S” in his famous dictionary, and it’s clear that there’s something amiss with his lower-case s—in its printed form it looks more like an f, most of the time. This feature of 18th-century writing and typography has led some people … Continue reading The Long “S”