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A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that uses letters of the Latin script.

The 21-letter archaic Latin alphabet and the 23-letter classical Latin alphabet belong to the oldest of this group. The 26-letter ISO basic Latin alphabet, adopted the earlier ASCII alphabet and contains the 26 letters of the English alphabet. It, in turn, has been incorporated into more recent international standards that include additions to handle the other alphabets derived from the classical Latin alphabet.

Apart from alphabets for spoken languages, there exist phonetic alphabets and spelling alphabets.

Some letters of the Latin script were altered slightly for use in particular languages, although the main letters are largely the same. There were several general types of alterations made to extend the alphabet's uses, depending on the language: diacritics could be added to existing letters; two letters could be fused together into ligatures; additional letters could be inserted; or pairs or triplets of letters could be treated as units (digraphs and trigraphs).

Any additional letters were often given a place in the alphabet by defining an alphabetical order or collation sequence, which can vary between languages. Some of the additions, especially letters which only have diacritics added to them, were not considered distinct letters for this purpose. For example, the French é and the German ö are not listed separately in their respective alphabet sequences. In some languages, digraphs are included in the collation sequence (e.g. Hungarian CS, Welsh RH).

The International Phonetic Alphabet is also derived mainly from the Latin script.



Letter inventoryEdit

Coverage of the letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet can be

  • complete
  • partial

and additional letters can be

Grapheme orderEdit

Most alphabets have the letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet in the same order as that alphabet.


Some alphabets regard digraphs as distinct letters, e.g. the old Spanish alphabet had CH and LL sorted apart from C and L. Some Spanish dictionaries still list "ll" separately.


Some alphabets sort letters that have diacritics at the end of the alphabet. Examples are the Scandinavian Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish alphabets.

Special letter formsEdit

Icelandic sorts some special letters at the end, as well as one letter with diacritic, while others with diacritic are sorted behind the corresponding non-diacritic letter.

Grapheme – sound correspondenceEdit

Pronunciation of written ⟨c⟩ in European languages
Pronunciation of written ⟨j⟩ in European languages

The phonetic values of graphemes can differ between alphabets.

Sound values of letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet in IPA and various Latin-script languages
Lowercase Latin alphabet 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 z
IPA 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 z
Classical Latin alphabet a b k d e f g h i, j k l m n o p k r s t u, w ks y z
English alphabet eɪ, æ, ɑː b k, s d , ɛ f g, d͡ʒ h aɪ, ɪ d͡ʒ k l m n oʊ, ɒ p ɹ s, z t juː, ʌ, ʊ, v w ks, z aɪ, ɪ, j z
French alphabet a b k, s d ə, ɛ f g, ʒ i ʒ k l m n ɔ, o p k ʁ s t y v w, v ks i, j z
Spanish alphabet a b k, θ~s d e f g, x i x k l m n o p k r s t u b w, b ks, s, x i, j θ~s
Indonesian language using Malay alphabet a b d e, ə f g h i k l m n o p q~k r s t u v w ks j z

External linksEdit