A This let­ter of ours de­scends from the first sym­bol of the Phœni­cian al­pha­bet, 𐤀, called aleph, and ap­pears in rough­ly some form in ev­ery In­do-Euro­pean tongue. It comes to us on­ly su­per­fi­cial­ly changed via the Greek let­ter al­pha, and com­mences all Latin- and Cyril­lic-based scripts. The Phœni­cian aleph al­so gave rise to sim­i­lar­ly named let­ters in He­brew and Ara­bic, al­beit in ei­ther case quite far re­moved in ap­pear­ance. The He­brew aleph evolved in­to a twist­ed af­fair with flanges sprout­ing from a cen­tral di­ag­o­nal, while the Ara­bic alif was re­duced to an ex­treme­ly pri­mor­dial lex­i­co­graph­i­cal form, and might not even be con­sid­ered a let­ter.

A al­so has mean­ings in­de­pen­dent of its rôle as a let­ter. In log­ic, it rep­re­sents the uni­ver­sal af­fir­ma­tive. In mu­sic, it is the sixth note of the dis­ton­ic scale of C ma­jor. In English gram­mar, a soli­tary A rep­re­sents the in­def­i­nite ar­ti­cle pre­ced­ing a con­so­nant. In a se­ries such as AAAAAAAAA, op­tion­al­ly with a ter­mi­nal H, it may in­di­cate that one is falling. As a nu­mer­i­cal af­fix it is con­sid­ered to have an or­di­nal val­ue pre­ced­ing that of any oth­er let­ter, and may al­so im­ply an item of ex­cep­tion­al qual­i­ty or ab­surd­ly small size.

Categories: , ,
Entries | Advert