Like most writing systems in the world, the history of old English alphabet is also very complicated because it is influenced by various things from the past.
Like most writing systems in the world, the history of old English alphabet is also very complicated because it is influenced by various things from the past. The Old English alphabet is the precursor to the English language we know today. The old English alphabet contains several letters derived from the Old Norse, Runic, and Gothic languages.
The Old English alphabet is often referred to as Anglo-Saxon or Ænglisc. It was also known as West Germanic which was spoken in England from the 5th to the 11th centuries. The native speakers of old English are Englisc people such as Angelcynn, Angle, and Angelfolc. They live in the Engalaland and Angelcynn areas.
Although it has been in use since the 5th century, the language was only used in written form in the 8th century. Most of the language was written in West Saxon, which was one of the four main dialects spoken at that time.
The Anglo-Saxons adopted the writing style of the Irish people. Finally, they started writing in Old English in the 10th century. Old English spoken in Anglo-Saxon was influenced by Latin-inspired Caroline Minuscule.
The English alphabet used today has only 26 letters. However, the Old English alphabet had more than 26 letters. The reason is, there are several letters that are no longer used until only 26 letters are left. What are the letters in the old English alphabet that are no longer used?
First is Thorn (Þ, Þ). It is read as “th” or similar to "the" and "this" in modern English. Previously, the letter was used in Icelandic writing and is related to old Norse. The thorn is pronounced with “th” sound and serves to represent the letter “y.” An example is “you” where the “y” is pronounced with the “th” sound.
The Thorn is also related to several old sentences such as "Ye Olde Tavern." The word "ye" is read as "the." Because of its confusing use, thorn was omitted from the list of the English alphabet.
There are other letters in the Old English alphabet that are similar to thorn. That letter is Edh or Eth which is symbolized by (Ð). They are used to pronounce a long “th” sound with a “d.” An example is the word "thought." In the late Middle Ages, the letters fell out of use.
The other letter is Insuglar G. It is pronounced “ogh” with a bit of a raspy sound. Originally, the letters were used in the Irish area. An example of the use of these letters is in the word "cough."
There is also the letter Ash (Æ) which is actually still used in Danish and Icelandic today. The letter was used in the early 20th century, especially for words like "Cæsar." The ash actually represents the sounds "e" and "a." An example is the “a” sound in the word “cat.”
The letters Wynn or Wyn are also one of the letters that were omitted from the old English alphabet. It represents the sound "uu." Eventually, the letter was replaced by the letter "W" in the modern English alphabet.
The last is the Ethel (Œ) which is a combination of o and e. The letter is used to represent the “e.” Today, the letter is actually still used in some special words like "amœba." The combined letters "o" and "e" were eventually separated and replaced with the letter "e."
It looks confusing. Therefore, it is a good idea to teach your child about the history of the Old English alphabet in general. After that, introduce them to the modern English alphabet. There are many ways to introduce it. You can use printable letter cutouts or calligraphy letter stencils.
After discussing the history and several types of letters in the old English alphabet, now let's find out some surprising facts about the various types of the alphabet in the world. This is because the old English alphabet is a small part of the world's alphabet and the world's languages are derived from various types of alphabets. Therefore, learning about the old English alphabet is also inseparable from other alphabets and languages in the world.
After children understand unique facts about the alphabet in the world, train them to understand the English alphabet that is currently used. So that they don't get bored while learning it, you can use various alphabet style fonts.
Kids can learn one font every day. Not only improving their understanding of the alphabet, but it also helps them to increase their creativity in writing using various types of fonts.