The majority of us use the alphabet's letters on a daily basis, but have you ever wondered how their shapes came to be? Every one of the 26 letters in the alphabet has a distinct history, and the history of the alphabet is fascinating. A helpful poster created by Matt Baker (of UsefulCharts) traces the development of the widely used alphabet from its Proto-Sinaitic Egyptian origins (c. 1750 BCE) to Latin script today. The limited edition Evolution of the Alphabet chart illustrates the gradual transformation of primitive shapes and symbols into the ABCs that are familiar to us today. Some letters bear very little resemblance to one another, while others are instantly recognisable.
For instance, the Egyptian hieroglyphic for the letter "A" originally resembled an animal head with horns. The lines that made up "A" eventually simplified to become the symbol we know today during the Phoenician (c. 1000 BCE), early Greek (c. 750 BCE), and early Latin (c. 500 BCE) periods. Originally, the letter "C" was fashioned like a boomerang or a hunting stick. It wasn't until about 500 BCE that it was given its crescent shape, and it took the Romans about 500 more years to flip it in the direction that it is written today (as well as alter the shape so that it becomes "G"). Additionally, one particularly interesting development the chart reveals is how the early Greek letter for “F” actually evolved to also become present-day “U,” “V,” “W,” and “Y.”