The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

By Andrew Liszewski on at

At 26 letters long, the English alphabet isn’t the most complicated string of symbols and characters to master, even for a five-year-old. But that’s because it has been put on a strict diet over the years that helped it slim down and shed 10 additional letters that were either deemed superfluous, redundant, or just downright confusing.

As YouTube’s Austin McConnell enlightens us, the ampersand symbol (&) used to be included at the end of our alphabet (as a shortened version of the word and), and the “y” in signs like “Ye Ol’ Tavern” was derived from another long-dead symbol that represented the “th” sound. It turns out we all sound kind of stupid pronouncing it “yee old.” [YouTube via Laughing Squid]

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