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Tour the alphabet with the perfect guide,
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This review is from: Language Visible: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z (Paperback)
There may be other books out there that do this job in more depth - certainly the lengthy bibliography makes it clear this is far from a revolutionary or isolated book in the field. But for an interested lay reader, I doubt that there are any that do the job better. David Sacks gets information across the way that perhaps one really good teacher in your education career did. If you were lucky.
Engaging, broad-ranging, entertaining as much as informative, easy without ever being facile, this is just a great read. It starts with an outline of the earliest origins of the alphabet in a meeting of cultures and traditions in ancient Egypt and its subsequent spread across most of the world in different forms. The main part is divided letter by letter, describing the development of the letter in sound, typography, and symbolism (think brand x) from its earliest days to modern use in major European languages.
As a side note, anyone who struggles with spelling ought to read this. Not because some of the history might help - it might, that's true - but because once you know that people have been trying to ditch the letter "c" since the middle ages as redundant, and other little nuggets in here, it's hard to feel alone.