#6 ABCD... had 27 letters!

There were 27 letters in the English alphabet. AND we use this 27th letter even today...

#6 ABCD... had 27 letters!
Photo by Drew Beamer / Unsplash

BIG welcome to the 6th edition of our fun + informative newsletter.

Every Wednesday, we share:

  • 🤯 A WOAHHH! fact
  • 💭 A Quiz for you (with the answer at the end)
  • 🤗 An Update about us
  • ❤️ A Comment that made our week

The previous edition on the naming of our months received a LOT of love. Grateful❤️

🤯 WOAHHH! fact

What if we told you that there was one more letter in the alphabet after "Z". AND we all still use this 27th letter of the English alphabet. It is a common letter in these words:

Johnson & Johnson
Mahindra & Mahindra

Did your eyes & brain catch it? ;)

Picture from an 1863 book

The symbol “&”, called an Ampersand, used to be the 27th letter of the alphabet. But this story has just started. The ampersand has an even more interesting history behind its name: 

In the English alphabet, there are some letters that can be used as words. Like “A”, “I” and “O”. 

In the old days, when children recited the alphabet, they recited these letters like "A per se A". The "per se" is a latin word meaning “by itself”. This was used to signify that they meant the letter A alone (by itself) and not the word A. 

In a similar way, the "&" could also be used as a word "and". If they just recited "and" after X,Y,Z, it would be - X,Y,Z, and...err and what?? Awkward. Hence it was also recited like A,I and O:

And per se And. 

Say this out loud repeatedly and in speed till you get…

And per se And
And per se And

Yup. As crazy as this sounds, this exactly is the origin of the word “Ampersand” for the letter “&”.

There is no solid answer as to why & when this 27th letter was removed. It is mostly because it was not really used to spell any words. But the exact reason stands unknown.

Another interesting fact: the symbol "&" has evolved from a handwritten combination of the letters E and T, as in et, the Latin word for “and”.

🔫 Quiz for you

The Old English alphabet also had a letter Wynn (ƿ) which was eventually replaced in Middle English times by uu.

What English letter do we now know this “uu” as?

🤗 This week at APH (Arey Pata Hai?!)

We tried something new. We dare to experiment with our content. We made a long, well-researched, informative video.

It was something we really enjoyed making but were honestly not sure if our audience would like it equally. But the comments on this video have all our hearts ❤️

Lesson learnt: When you genuinely have fun while creating content, the viewers have fun while watching it too🤗

💌 A comment that made our week

So so so grateful to have an audience that supports all our curious endeavours. The sentiment on all our experiments - from this newsletter to the new video is ❤️🤗

Thank you for taking the efforts to share this, Sangam :)

✅ Quiz answer

The "uu" eventually developed into the modern W. W really is a double U!

👋 See you next Wednesday!

Giveaway winners shall receive their Quiz-Wiz e-book over email soon. If you were in the Top 25, congratulations. To those who couldn't make it - we will release this e-book soon❤️

Team APH

PS: We personally revert to every single reply on this newsletter. Waiting to know if you liked it :)

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Read all the previous 5 editions here. Promise they are all equally interesting🤩

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