David Sacks The Alphabet

ISBN 13: 9780099436829

The Alphabet

3.95 avg rating
( 476 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780099436829: The Alphabet

There is a story behind each letter of the alphabet. How did A become the symbol for quality or the badge worn by adulterers in Puritan England? Why is X the mark of the Unknown or shorthand for a kiss? When did Z, the least-used letter in English, become an emblem of African-American Hip Hop culture? Which two letters came last, historically, to the alphabet? (J and V). How did a few squiggles, invented 4000 years ago to denote sounds of a now vanished Semitic language, survive to become our letters today? While China and Japan rely mainly on scripts of ideograms, three-quarters of humanity uses some kind of alphabet. Chinese writing requires 2000 basic symbols, with an inventory of 60,000, where an alphabet needs typically less than 30. From A to Z, David Sacks provides answers to the most fascinating questions about the way we talk, write and think, in a book that takes you on a gripping journey through 40 centuries of the alphabet's evolution.

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Product Description:

There is a story behind each letter of the alphabet. Why is X the Unknown or shorthand for a kiss? Which letter came last, historically, in the alphabet? (J). How did a few squiggles, invented a thousand years ago to denote sounds of a now vanished Semitic language, survive to become our letters today? While China and Japan rely mainly on scripts of ideograms, three-quarters of humanity uses some kind of alphabet. Chinese writing requires 2000 basic symbols (but there's no language barrier), where an alphabet needs typically less than 30. From A-Z, David Sacks provides answers to the most fascinating questions about the way we talk, write and think in a book which will also be illustrated graphically throughout - not just with variations of individual letters but with maps, charts and general narrative images.

Review:

"The Alphabet by David Sacks is the history of 26 letters which daily describe and change the world - from Egyptian pictures through the Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek, and Roman refinements to our own variations on those few, now abstract symbols." (Melvyn Bragg)

"Sacks' clever, simple idea is to follow the individual letters, one by one. He takes us back in time to find how each came to us and how it gained its special properties a wonderfully interesting book" (Guardian)

"Sacks has elaborate but straight-faced fun with all the letters, stroking them like pets, aware of the mosaic of associations that clings to every one of them" (New Statesman)

"Serious food for linguaphiles Sacks visits each of the letters as if it were an island, with its distinct geography and customs" (Financial Times Magazine)

"Brilliant, entertaining and amusing." (Barbados Daily Nation)

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Sacks, David
Published by Arrow Books Ltd (2004)
ISBN 10: 0099436825 ISBN 13: 9780099436829
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099436825

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Sacks, David
Published by Arrow Books Ltd (2004)
ISBN 10: 0099436825 ISBN 13: 9780099436829
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Ergodebooks
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099436825

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