Unit 0

English Alphabet

Contributors

Introduction

The modern English alphabet consists of 26 letters: 5 vowels and 21 consonants.

Form

The letters can be distinguished between vowels (a,e,i,o,u) and consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y and z).

Each letter has an uppercase and a lowercase form, which are used depending on the position they have inside the word. The third column of this grid (phonetics) represent the sound that the letters have in the middle of a word, whereas the pronunciation column shows how each letter is called by itself.

Uppercase Lowercase Phonetics Pronunciation
A a // ei
B b /biː/ bee
C c /siː/ cee
D d /dɪ/  dee
E e /iː/ ii
F f /ɛf/ ef
G g /ʤiː/ gee
H h /eːʧ / aitch
I i /aɪ/ ai
J j /ʤeɪ/ jay
K k /keɪ/ kay
L l /ɛl/ el
M m /ɛm/ em
N n /ɛn/ en
O o /oʊ/ o
P p /piː/ pee
Q q /kjuː/ qiu
R r /ɑr/ ar
S s /ɛs/ ess
T t /tiː/ tee
U u /juː/ iu
V v /viː/ vee
W w /ˈdʌbəl juː/ double-iu
X x /ɛks/ ex
Y y /waɪ/ wye
Z z /zi/ zi

Example

  • Apple
  • Ball
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Egg
  • Frog
  • Game
  • House
  • Ice cream
  • Joker
  • Kite
  • Lemon
  • Monkey
  • Nurse
  • Orange
  • Pizza
  • Queen
  • Rose
  • Sun
  • Tree
  • Umbrella
  • Violin
  • Window
  • Xylophone
  • Yogurt
  • Zebra

Use

We use the letters of the alphabet to form words. Usually we don’t use more than 3 consecutive consonants without a vowel following in a word.

The sounds of the alphabet (phonetics) are represented by letters (graphemes).

  • Orthography is the science that studies the correct writing of graphemes inside words;
  • Phonology is the science that studies sounds inside words.
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