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Writing cursive forms of M

M (named em /ɛm/)[1] is the thirteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

Contents

History

Egyptian hieroglyph "n" -Phoenician
Mem
Etruscan M Greek
Mu
Roman M
 
       

The letter M is derived from the Phoenician Mem, via the Greek Mu (Μ, μ). Semitic Mem is most likely derived from a "Proto-Sinaitic" (Bronze Age) adoption of the "water" ideogram in Egyptian writing. The Egyptian sign had the acrophonic value /n/, from the Egyptian word for "water", nt; the adoption as the Semitic letter for /m/ was presumably also on acrophonic grounds, from the Semitic word for "water", *mā(y)-.[2]

Use in writing systems

The letter ⟨m⟩ represents the bilabial nasal consonant sound [m] in the orthography of Latin as well as in that of many modern languages, and also in the International Phonetic Alphabet. In English, the Oxford English Dictionary (first edition) says that ⟨m⟩ is sometimes a vowel in words like spasm and in the suffix -ism. In modern terminology, this is described as a syllabic consonant (IPA [m̩]).

Other uses

The Roman numeral Ⅿ represents the number 1000, though it was not used in Roman times. There is, however, scant evidence that the letter was later introduced in the early centuries by the Romans. [3]

Related characters

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet

  • M with diacritics: Ḿ ḿ Ṁ ṁ Ṃ ṃ M̃ m̃ ᵯ[4]
  • IPA-specific symbols related to M: ɱ ɰ
  • Ɱ : Capital M with hook
  • Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to M:[5]
    • U+1D0D LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL M
    • U+1D1F LATIN SMALL LETTER SIDEWAYS TURNED M
    • U+1D39 MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL M
    • U+1D50 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL M
    • U+1D5A MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED M
  • Some symbols related to M were used by the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet prior to its formal standardization in 1902:[6]
    • U+2098 LATIN SUBSCRIPT SMALL LETTER M
    • U+A7FA LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL TURNED M
  • The Teuthonista phonetic transcription system uses U+AB3A LATIN SMALL LETTER M WITH CROSSED-TAIL[7]
  • Other variations used for phonetic transcription:[8]
  • Ɯ ɯ : Turned M
  • ꟽ : Inverted M was used in ancient Roman texts to stand for mulier (woman)[9]
  • ꟿ : Archaic M was used in ancient Roman texts to abbreviate the personal name 'Manius' (A regular capital M was used for the more common personal name 'Marcus')[9]

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets

  • 𐤌 : Semitic letter Mem, from which the following symbols originally derive
    • Μ μ : Greek letter Mu, from which M derives
      • Ⲙ ⲙ : Coptic letter Me, which derives from Greek Mu
      • М м : Cyrillic letter Em, also derived from Mu
      • 𐌌 : Old Italic M, which derives from Greek Mu, and is the ancestor of modern Latin M
        •  : Runic letter Mannaz, which derives from old Italic M
      • 𐌼 : Gothic letter manna, which derives from Greek Mu

Ligatures and abbreviations

Computing codes

Character M m
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER M     LATIN SMALL LETTER M
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 77 U+004D 109 U+006D
UTF-8 77 4D 109 6D
Numeric character reference M M m m
EBCDIC family 212 D4 148 94
ASCII 1 77 4D 109 6D
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations

References

  1. ^ "M" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "em," op. cit.
  2. ^ See F. Simons, "Proto-Sinaitic — Progenitor of the Alphabet" Rosetta 9 (2011): Figure Two: "Representative selection of proto-Sinaitic characters with comparison to Egyptian hieroglyphs", (p. 38) Figure Three: "Chart of all early proto-Canaanite letters with comparison to proto-Sinaitic signs" (p. 39), Figure Four: "Representative selection of later proto-Canaanite letters with comparison to early proto-Canaanite and proto-Sinaitic signs" (p. 40). See also: Goldwasser (2010), following Albright (1966), "Schematic Table of Proto-Sinaitic Characters" (fig. 1).
  3. ^ Gordon, Arthur E. (1983). Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy. University of California Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780520038981. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Constable, Peter (2003-09-30). "L2/03-174R2: Proposal to Encode Phonetic Symbols with Middle Tilde in the UCS" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF). 
  6. ^ Ruppel, Klaas; Aalto, Tero; Everson, Michael (2009-01-27). "L2/09-028: Proposal to encode additional characters for the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF). 
  9. ^ a b Perry, David J. (2006-08-01). "L2/06-269: Proposal to Add Additional Ancient Roman Characters to UCS" (PDF). 

External links

  •   Media related to M at Wikimedia Commons
  •   The dictionary definition of M at Wiktionary
  •   The dictionary definition of m at Wiktionary