One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A letter used in Old English to represent a vowel intermediate between a and e and from the 16th century onwards used in Latin or Latinized Greek words, representing an original diphthong ae or ai.See also ash
- ‘They used the letter æ, which we do not use.’
- ‘In addition, because the Roman alphabet had no letters to correspond with certain Old English sounds, additional letters were added: "æ", "þ", and "ð".’
- ‘The letter æ was extraneous in even the earliest texts because the sound /æ/ had disappeared from Germanic languages by the 3rd century CE, yet it existed in the alphabet (that is, it would always appear in a list of all the letters).’
- ‘Furthermore the examples above show that Old English uses the letters æ and þ that are not used in Modern English anymore.’
- ‘To represent sounds not found in the Irish and Latin languages, the monks had to adapt versions of the Runic alphabet for the letters w, þ, ð, and æ.’
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