Red Letter Day

We are all familiar with the twenty-six letters of the alphabet used in modern English, but what you may not be aware of it that there used to be others which have since fallen out of use. The best known of these is probably #, although # and # were once just as common - the latter pronounced in close approximation to the noise made by an elderly pig sucking on a milk carton. Of course, these letters are no longer in circulation, which is why they probably all look like # on your screen right now.

Many letters have come and gone during the evolution of the English language from a series of painful grunting noises to the modern speaky-type wordfluff that we are all common with today. The most recent addition to the alphabet was the letter K, which you might be surprised to learn wasn't invented until 1952 as a result of a competition to celebrate the Queen's coronation. Even then, it didn't really become commonplace until the early sixties.

Well now the English alphabet is going to get a whole new letter to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the typewriter, probably. The National Council for the Registration of Numerals, Characters and Punctuation Marks, which is actually a thing*, is once again running a competition to come up with a new letter. Anyone can enter, as many times as they like, with the only stipulation being that the new letter must be wholly original and 'not just an existing character with a funny squiggle on it, like they have in Spain or somewhere'.

However, this time, in recognition of the ways that the technology of typography has advanced, the organisers have said that the letter can be in colour.


*No it isn't

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