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#460 - anonymous (07/21/2012) [-]
A is the first letter and a vowel in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. It is similar to the Ancient Greek letter Alpha, from which it derives.

The earliest certain ancestor of "A" is aleph, the first letter of the Phoenician alphabet (which, by consisting entirely of consonants, is an abjad rather than a true alphabet). In turn, the origin of aleph may have been a pictogram of an ox head in Egyptian hieroglyphs.

In English, the letter A currently represents six different vowel sounds: A by itself frequently denotes the near-open front unrounded vowel (/æ/) as in pad; the open back unrounded vowel (/ɑː/) as in father, its original, Latin and Greek, sound; a closer, further fronted sound as in "hare", which developed as the sound progressed from "father" to "ace"; in concert with a later orthographic vowel, the diphthong /eɪ/ as in ace and major, due to effects of the great vowel shift; the more rounded form in "water" or its closely related cousin, found in "was".
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