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The Alphabet by David Sacks
  

The Alphabet

Books for the Boys   The Real World   
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This yearâs Eats Shoots and Leaves looks at the history of each letter of the alphabet through 40 centuries.

Synopsis

The Alphabet by David Sacks

There is a story behind each letter of the alphabet. How did A become the symbol for quality or the badge worn by adulterers in Puritan England? Why is X the mark of the Unknown or shorthand for a kiss? When did Z, the least-used letter in English, become an emblem of African-American Hip Hop culture? Which two letters came last, historically, to the alphabet? (J and V). How did a few squiggles, invented 4000 years ago to denote sounds of a now vanished Semitic language, survive to become our letters today? While China and Japan rely mainly on scripts of ideograms, three-quarters of humanity uses some kind of alphabet. Chinese writing requires 2000 basic symbols, with an inventory of 60,000, where an alphabet needs typically less than 30.

From A to Z, David Sacks provides answers to the most fascinating questions about the way we talk, write and think, in a book that takes you on a gripping journey through 40 centuries of the alphabet's evolution.

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Reviews

'A wonderfully interesting book'
Guardian

About the Author

David Sacks
David Sacks is a freelance writer for New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Harper's Bazaar, Elle etc. He now lives in Canada with his wife and two children. He is 51.

photo: Carol Barnstead photography

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Book Info

Publication date

7th October 2004

Author

David Sacks

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Author's Website

www.alphabet-history.com/

Publisher

Arrow

Format

Paperback
416 pages

Categories

Books for the Boys
The Real World

Historical & comparative linguistics
Language: reference & general

ISBN

9780099436829

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