English alphabet

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The English alphabet consists of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z. It is also regarded as the typical Roman alphabet, as other versions can be shorter, like the Italian alphabet, or longer, such as the Icelandic. In English, items like GH do not count as single letters.

The letters A, E, I, O, U are called vowels; the rest are consonants. Y and W are considered semi-vowels. The letter W and the distinctions between I and J, U and V were introduced in continental Europe during the Middle Ages. The Roman graphemes æ and œ are still used in British English for certain words of Greek or Latin origin, such as encylopædia and cœlom. The letter æ (called æsc) was also used in native Old English words. Other archaic letters (used in Old English or Middle English) are þ (thorn); ð (eth); Ȝ or 3 (yogh); and ƿ (wynn). The letter ſ (long ess) lasted into early modern English.