The Alphabet that English, German, French etc uses..

British Maria   Wednesday, October 08, 2003, 17:45 GMT
What is the alphabet called that is used in the English, French, German etc language?
When going back through time it can be seen that the alphabet used in England has changed, certainly over the past 1000 years. In around the year 1000 there were what looked like Scandinavian characters, but the words are still legible and recognisable if you look and think about them carefully...I'm just wondering how and why some letters fell out of order and others came in..
Jake   Wednesday, October 08, 2003, 18:58 GMT
The basic template of the alphabet used by Western European languages today is the Roman alphabet. Because most languages in Western Europe today are either directly descended from Latin or were for most purposes had no written form, this makes sense, because the Romans were the first people to give a regular system for representing vocal sounds. The Roman alphabet itself was an adaption of the Greek used locally in Latium, similar in many ways to other contemporary Italian alphabets of circa 500 BCE, but unique in that it became the standard alphabet of all Italy and then all Western Europe as Roman power expanded. The Roman alphabet has changed little in 2000 years, the only differences are specific to language, to represent sounds which are not used in Latin, or are borrowed from yet another language, mainly Greek, by the letter "K". In English, v, w and u all come from a Roman letter usually written as "V", which could be used as either a vowel or a consonant, and in consonant form sounded like a cross between "v" and "w". The main changes in the sounds represented by this alphabet have come in the category of the vowels, which are at least slightly different and specific to every language that uses the alphabet. Usually, in the order of the alphabet, new letters derivative of Roman letters but not actually included in the original, are placed after the originals that most closely approximate their sound. Ex: U, V, W in English, and C, CH in Spanish.
British Maria   Thursday, October 09, 2003, 18:13 GMT
Thanks for that Jake :-)