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This article is about the letter of the alphabet. For the English indefinite article, see English articles. For other uses,
see A (disambiguation).
For technical reasons, "A#" redirects here. For A-sharp, see A.
ISO basic
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh
Ii Jj Kk Ll
Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt
Uu Vv Ww Xx
Yy Zz
Cursive script 'a' and capital 'A'
A (named a /e/, plural aes
</ref>) is the first letter and vowel in the
ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is similar to the Ancient Greek letter alpha,
from which it derives. The upper-case version consists of the two
slanting sides of a triangle, crossed in the middle by a horizontal bar.
The lower-case version can be written in two forms: the double-storey
a and single-storey . The latter is commonly used in handwriting and
fonts based on it, especially fonts intended to be read by children. It is
also found in italic type.
The earliest certain ancestor of "A" is aleph (also called 'aleph), the first letter of the Phoenician alphabet (which, by
consisting entirely of consonants, is an abjad rather than a true alphabet). In turn, the origin of aleph may have been a
pictogram of an ox head in proto-Sinaitic script influenced by Egyptian hieroglyphs, styled as a triangular head with
two horns extended.
Egyptian Cretan Phoenician
Semitic Greek
800700 BC
Latin 300
In 1600 B.C.E., the Phoenician alphabet's letter had a linear form that served as the base for some later forms. Its
name must have corresponded closely to the Hebrew or Arabic aleph.
Blackletter A
Uncial A
Another Blackletter A
Modern Roman A Modern Italic A Modern script A
When the ancient Greeks adopted the alphabet, they had no use for the glottal stopthe first phoneme of the
Phoenician pronunciation of the letter, and the sound that the letter denoted in Phoenician and other Semitic
languagesso they used an adaptation of the sign to represent the vowel /a/, and gave it the similar name of alpha.
In the earliest Greek inscriptions after the Greek Dark Ages, dating to the 8th century BC, the letter rests upon its
side, but in the Greek alphabet of later times it generally resembles the modern capital letter, although many local
varieties can be distinguished by the shortening of one leg, or by the angle at which the cross line is set.
The Etruscans brought the Greek alphabet to their civilization in the Italian Peninsula and left the letter unchanged.
The Romans later adopted the Etruscan alphabet to write the Latin language, and the resulting letter was preserved in
the Latin alphabet used to write many languages, including English.
Typographic variants
Typographic variants include a double-storey a
and single-storey .
During Roman times, there were many variations on the letter "A".
First was the monumental or lapidary style, which was used when
inscribing on stone or other "permanent" mediums. For perishable
surfaces, what was used for everyday or utilitarian purposes, a cursive
style was used. Due to the "perishable" nature of the surfaces, these
examples are not as prevalent as the monumental. This perishable style
was called cursive and numerous variations have survived, such as
majuscule cursive, minuscule cursive, and semicursive minuscule.
There were also variants that were intermediate between the
monumental and the cursive. The known variants include the early
semi-uncial, the uncial, and the later semi-uncial.
At the termination of the Roman Empire (5th century AD), several
variants of the cursive minuscule appeared through Western Europe.
Among these were the semicursive minuscule of Italy, the
Merovingian script in France, the Visigothic script in Spain, and the
Insular or Anglo-Irish semi-uncial or Anglo-Saxon majuscule, of Great
Britain. By the 9th century, the Caroline script, which was very similar to the present-day form, was the principal
form used in book-making, before the advent of the printing press. This form was derived through a combining of
prior forms.
15th-century Italy saw the formation of the two variants that are known today. These variants, the Italics and Roman
forms, were derived from the Caroline Script version. The Italics form used in most current handwriting consists of a
circle and vertical stroke (""), called Latin alpha or "script a". This slowly developed from the fifth-century form
resembling the Greek letter tau in the hands of dark-age Irish and English writers. Most printed material uses the
Roman form consisting of a small loop with an arc over it ("a"). Both derive from the majuscule (capital) form. In
Greek handwriting, it was common to join the left leg and horizontal stroke into a single loop, as demonstrated by
the uncial version shown. Many fonts then made the right leg vertical. In some of these, the serif that began the right
leg stroke developed into an arc, resulting in the printed form, while in others it was dropped, resulting in the modern
handwritten form.
Use in English
In English orthography, the letter A currently represents six different vowel sounds: A by itself frequently denotes
the near-open front unrounded vowel (//) as in pad; the open back unrounded vowel (//) as in father, its original,
Latin and Greek, sound; a closer, further fronted sound as in "hare", which developed as the sound progressed from
"father" to "ace"; in concert with a later orthographic vowel, the diphthong /e/ as in ace and major, due to effects of
the Great Vowel Shift; the more rounded form in "water" or its closely related cousin, found in "was".
The double "a" sequence is not a native English combination; however it occurs in some foreign words such as
Aaron and aardvark.
"A" is the third-most-commonly used letter in English (after "E" and "T"), and the second most common in Spanish
and French. In one study, on average, about 3.68% of letters used in English tend to be 'a', while the number is
6.22% in Spanish and 3.95% in French.
Use in other languages
In most languages that use the Latin alphabet, A denotes an open unrounded vowel: /a/, //, or //. An exception is
Saanich, in which A (and ) stands for a close-mid front unrounded vowel /e/.
Use in mathematics, logic and science
Main article: A (disambiguation)
In algebra, the letter "A" along with other letters at the beginning of the alphabet is used to represent known
quantities, whereas the letters at the end of the alphabet (x,y,z) are used to denote unknown quantities.
In geometry, capital A, B, C etc. are used to denote segments, lines, rays, etc. Also, A is typically used as one of the
letters to represent an angle in a triangle.
In logic, A is used to signify the universal affirmative.
in physics, A is the SI unit symbol for Ampere.
In phonetic and phonemic notation:
in the International Phonetic Alphabet, [a] is used for the open front unrounded vowel, [] is used for the open
central unrounded vowel and [] is used for the open back unrounded vowel.
in X-SAMPA, [a] is used for the open front unrounded vowel and [A] is used for the open back unrounded vowel.
Other uses
Main article: A (disambiguation)
"A" is often used to denote something or someone of a better or more prestigious quality or status: A-, A or A+, the
best grade that can be assigned by teachers for students' schoolwork; "A grade" for clean restaurants; A-list
celebrities, etc. Such associations can have a motivating effect, as exposure to the letter A has been found to improve
performance, when compared with other letters.
A is a common symbol of school and basic phonetics in the US, along with B and C.
Finally, the letter A is used to denote size, as in a narrow size shoe, or a small cup size in a brassiere.
Related letters and other similar characters
Different glyphs of the lowercase
letter A.
: Greek letter alpha
: Cyrillic letter A
: Latin letter alpha / script A
: a turned lowercase letter A, used by the International Phonetic Alphabet
for the near-open central vowel
: a turned capital letter A, used in predicate logic to specify universal
quantification ("for all")
: an ordinal indicator
: Latin AE ligature
: A letter used in various Scandinavian (and other) languages
Computing codes
A a
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 65 U+0041 97 U+0061
UTF-8 65 41 97 61
Numeric character reference &#65; &#x41; &#97; &#x61;
EBCDIC family 193 C1 129 81
1 65 41 97 61
Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.
Other representations
NATO phonetic Morse code

Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

[1] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ w/ index. php?title=Template:Latin_alphabet_sidebar& action=edit
[2] Aes is the plural of the name of the letter. The plural of the letter itself is rendered As, A's, as, or a's.<ref>
Anon (2004). "English Letter Frequency" (http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ 6Put1etCm). Math Explorer's Club.
Cornell University. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. math. cornell. edu/ ~mec/ 2003-2004/
cryptography/ subs/ frequencies. html) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
Anon (2006). "Percentages of Letter frequencies per Thousand words" (http:/ / starbase. trincoll. edu/ ~crypto/
resources/ LetFreq. html). Trinity College. Retrieved 1 May 2006.Wikipedia:Link rot
British Psychological Society (9 March 2010). "Letters Affect Exam Results" (http:/ / www. webcitation. org/
6PutAuaJz). Science Alert. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. sciencealert. com. au/ news/
20100903-20689. html) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
Diringer, David (2000). "A". In Bayer, Patricia. Encyclopedia Americana. I: A-Anjou (First ed.). Danbury, CT:
Grolier Incorporated. ISBN0-7172-0133-3.
Gelb, I. J.; Whiting, R. M. (1998). "A". In Ranson, K. Anne. Academic American Encyclopedia. I: A-Ang (First
ed.). Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated. ISBN0-7172-2068-0.
Hall-Quest, Olga Wilbourne (1997). "A". In Johnston, Bernard. Collier's Encyclopedia. I: A to Ameland (First
ed.). New York, NY: P.F. Collier.
Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "A". Encyclopdia Britannica. 1: A-akBayes. Chicago, IL: Encyclopdia
Britannica, Inc. ISBN978-1-59339-837-8.
Simpson, J. A.; Weiner, E.S.C., eds. (1989). "A". The Oxford English Dictionary. I: A-Bazouki (2nd ed.). Oxford,
UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-861213-3.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to A.
Look up Aor a in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
History of the Alphabet (http:/ / members. peak. org/ ~jeremy/ dictionaryclassic/ chapters/ pix/ alphabet. gif)
Texts on Wikisource:
"A" in A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "A" (entry). Encyclopdia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University
"A". The New Student's Reference Work. Chicago: F. E. Compton and Co. 1914.
"A". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
Article Sources and Contributors
Article Sources and Contributors
A Source: Contributors: *Kat*, .:Ajvol:., 1029384756pie, 1123werqer,, 14schltr, 1700-talet,, 24ip,
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