The old English letter you know so well.

Alphabetical Cover

Alphabetical How Every Letter Tells A Story

The letters “a e” and “o e” were once joined in the English language to appear as one. The advent of the keyboard has assured their absence in contemporary English. However, another Olde English letter has weathered the cut and stayed with us. It’s story is but one of many by author Michael Rosen in his book Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story (by Counterpoint Press).

A long time ago, when children recited the alphabet, their very last saying was “and per se’ and.” which used the letter “&.” According to Rosen this conclusion of the recitation was a mashup of today’s “ampersand.” He writes that the “per se” portion of the pronunciation meant “on its own,” or “for itself.” Today we might say “and so forth” or “etcetera.”

This little used character above the “7” on your keyboard has this depth of history to chronicle its existence. Not so the “@.”

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