|Writing system||Latin script|
|Language of origin||Latin language|
|Phonetic usage||[ c ]|
[ k ]
[ t͡ʃ ]
[ t͡s ( ʰ )]
[ d͡ʒ ]
[ ʃ ]
[ s̝ ]
[ ʕ ]
[ ʔ ]
[ θ ]
Numerical value: 3
C or c is the third letter in the English and ISO basic Latin alphabets. Its name in English is cee (pronounced // ), plural cees.
|Old Latin |
"C" comes from the same letter as "G". The Semites named it gimel. The sign is possibly adapted from an Egyptian hieroglyph for a staff sling, which may have been the meaning of the name gimel. Another possibility is that it depicted a camel, the Semitic name for which was gamal. Barry B. Powell, a specialist in the history of writing, states "It is hard to imagine how gimel = "camel" can be derived from the picture of a camel (it may show his hump, or his head and neck!)".
In the Etruscan language, plosive consonants had no contrastive voicing, so the Greek 'Γ' (Gamma) was adopted into the Etruscan alphabet to represent /k/. Already in the Western Greek alphabet, Gamma first took a '
Other alphabets have letters homoglyphic to 'c' but not analogous in use and derivation, like the Cyrillic letter Es (С, с) which derives from the lunate sigma, named due to its resemblance to the crescent moon.
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When the Roman alphabet was introduced into Britain, ⟨c⟩ represented only /k/, and this value of the letter has been retained in loanwords to all the insular Celtic languages: in Welsh, Irish, Gaelic, ⟨c⟩ represents only /k/. The Old English Latin-based writing system was learned from the Celts, apparently of Ireland; hence ⟨c⟩ in Old English also originally represented /k/; the Modern English words kin, break, broken, thick, and seek, all come from Old English words written with ⟨c⟩: cyn, brecan, brocen, þicc, and séoc. But during the course of the Old English period, /k/ before front vowels (/e/ and /i/) were palatalized, having changed by the tenth century to [tʃ], though ⟨c⟩ was still used, as in cir(i)ce, wrecc(e)a. On the continent, meanwhile, a similar phonetic change had also been going on (for example, in Italian).
In Vulgar Latin, /k/ became palatalized to [tʃ] in Italy and Dalmatia; in France and the Iberian peninsula, it became [ts]. Yet for these new sounds ⟨c⟩ was still used before the letters ⟨e⟩ and ⟨i⟩. The letter thus represented two distinct values. Subsequently, the Latin phoneme /kʷ/ (spelled ⟨qv⟩) de-labialized to /k/ meaning that the various Romance languages had /k/ before front vowels. In addition, Norman used the letter ⟨k⟩ so that the sound /k/ could be represented by either ⟨k⟩ or ⟨c⟩, the latter of which could represent either /k/ or /ts/ depending on whether it preceded a front vowel letter or not. The convention of using both ⟨c⟩ and ⟨k⟩ was applied to the writing of English after the Norman Conquest, causing a considerable re-spelling of the Old English words. Thus while Old English candel, clif, corn, crop, cú, remained unchanged, Cent, cæ´ᵹ (cé´ᵹ), cyng, brece, séoce, were now (without any change of sound) spelled 'Kent', 'keȝ', 'kyng', 'breke', and 'seoke'; even cniht ('knight') was subsequently changed to 'kniht' and þic ('thick') changed to 'thik' or 'thikk'. The Old English 'cw' was also at length displaced by the French 'qu' so that the Old English cwén ('queen') and cwic ('quick') became Middle English 'quen' 'quik', respectively. The sound [tʃ], to which Old English palatalized /k/ had advanced, also occurred in French, chiefly from Latin /k/ before 'a'. In French it was represented by the digraph ⟨ch⟩, as in champ (from Latin camp-um) and this spelling was introduced into English: the Hatton Gospels, written about 1160, have in Matt. i-iii, child, chyld, riche, mychel, for the cild, rice, mycel, of the Old English version whence they were copied. In these cases, the Old English ⟨c⟩ gave place to ⟨k qu ch⟩ but, on the other hand, ⟨c⟩ in its new value of /ts/ came in largely in French words like processiun, emperice, grace, and was also substituted for 'ts' in a few Old English words, as miltse, bletsien, in early Middle English milce, blecien. By the end of the thirteenth century both in France and England, this sound /ts/ de-affricated to /s/; and from that time ⟨c⟩ has represented /s/ before front vowels either for etymological reasons, as in lance, cent, or to avoid the ambiguity due to the "etymological" use of ⟨s⟩ for /z/, as in ace, mice, once, pence, defence.
Thus, to show etymology, English spelling has advise, devise (instead of advize, devize), while advice, device, dice, ice, mice, twice, etc., do not reflect etymology; example has extended this to hence, pence, defence, etc., where there is no etymological reason for using ⟨c⟩. Former generations also wrote sence for sense. Hence, today the Romance languages and English have a common feature inherited from Vulgar Latin spelling conventions where ⟨c⟩ takes on either a "hard" or "soft" value depending on the following letter.
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In English orthography, ⟨c⟩ generally represents the "soft" value of // before the letters ⟨e⟩ (including the Latin-derived digraphs ⟨ae⟩ and ⟨oe⟩, or the corresponding ligatures ⟨æ⟩ and ⟨œ⟩), ⟨i⟩, and ⟨y⟩, and a "hard" value of // before any other letters or at the end of a word. However, there are a number of exceptions in English: "soccer" and "Celt" are words that have // where // would be expected.
The "soft" ⟨c⟩ may represent the // sound in the digraph ⟨ci⟩ when this precedes a vowel, as in the words 'delicious' and 'appreciate', and also in the word "ocean" and its derivatives.
The digraph ⟨ ch ⟩ most commonly represents // , but can also represent // (mainly in words of Greek origin) or // (mainly in words of French origin). For some dialects of English, it may also represent // in words like loch, while other speakers pronounce the final sound as // . The trigraph ⟨tch⟩ always represents // .
The digraph ⟨ck⟩ is often used to represent the sound // after short vowels, like "wicket".
C is the eleventh least frequently used letter in the English language (after G, Y, P, B, V, K, J, X, Q, and Z), with a frequency of about 2.20% in words.
In the Romance languages French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese, ⟨c⟩ generally has a "hard" value of /k/ and a "soft" value whose pronunciation varies by language. In French, Portuguese, Catalan and Spanish from Latin America and southern Spain, the soft ⟨c⟩ value is /s/ as it is in English. In the Spanish spoken in northern and central Spain, the soft ⟨c⟩ is a voiceless dental fricative /θ/. In Italian and Romanian, the soft ⟨c⟩ is [t͡ʃ].
All Balto-Slavic languages that use the Latin alphabet, as well as Albanian, Hungarian, Pashto, several Sami languages, Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua, and Americanist phonetic notation (and those aboriginal languages of North America whose practical orthography derives from it) use ⟨c⟩ to represent /t͡s/, the voiceless alveolar or voiceless dental sibilant affricate. In Hanyu Pinyin, the standard romanization of Mandarin Chinese, the letter represents an aspirated version of this sound, /t͡sʰ/.
Among non-European languages that have adopted the Latin alphabet, ⟨c⟩ represents a variety of sounds. Yup'ik, Indonesian, Malay, and a number of African languages such as Hausa, Fula, and Manding share the soft Italian value of /t͡ʃ/. In Azeri, Crimean Tatar, Kurmanji Kurdish, and Turkish ⟨c⟩ stands for the voiced counterpart of this sound, the voiced postalveolar affricate /d͡ʒ/. In Yabem and similar languages, such as Bukawa, ⟨c⟩ stands for a glottal stop /ʔ/. Xhosa and Zulu use this letter to represent the click /ǀ/. In some other African languages, such as Berber languages, ⟨c⟩ is used for /ʃ/. In Fijian, ⟨c⟩ stands for a voiced dental fricative /ð/, while in Somali it has the value of /ʕ/.
The letter ⟨c⟩ is also used as a transliteration of Cyrillic ⟨ц⟩ in the Latin forms of Serbian, Macedonian, and sometimes Ukrainian, along with the digraph ⟨ts⟩.
As a phonetic symbol, lowercase ⟨c⟩ is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal plosive, and capital ⟨C⟩ is the X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal fricative.
There are several common digraphs with ⟨c⟩, the most common being ⟨ ch ⟩, which in some languages (such as German) is far more common than ⟨c⟩ alone. ⟨ch⟩ takes various values in other languages.
As in English, ⟨ck⟩, with the value /k/, is often used after short vowels in other Germanic languages such as German and Swedish (other Germanic languages, such as Dutch and Norwegian, use ⟨kk⟩ instead). The digraph ⟨cz⟩ is found in Polish and ⟨cs⟩ in Hungarian, both representing /t͡ʃ/. The digraph ⟨sc⟩ represents /ʃ/ in Old English, Italian, and a few languages related to Italian (where this only happens before front vowels, while otherwise it represents /sk/). The trigraph ⟨sch⟩ represents /ʃ/ in German.
Add to C with diacritics
|Unicode name||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER C||LATIN SMALL LETTER C|
|Numeric character reference||C||C||c||c|
F or f is the sixth letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is ef, plural efs.
G or g is the seventh letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is gee, plural gees.
H or h is the eighth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is aitch, or regionally haitch.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language. The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators and translators.
K is the eleventh letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is kay, plural kays. The letter K usually represents the voiceless velar plosive.
S or s is the 19th letter in the Modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is ess, plural esses.
T or t is the 20th letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is tee, plural tees. It is derived from the Semitic letter taw via the Greek letter tau. In English, it is most commonly used to represent the voiceless alveolar plosive, a sound it also denotes in the International Phonetic Alphabet. It is the most commonly used consonant and the second most common letter in English-language texts.
X or x is the 24th and third-to-last letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is ex, plural exes.
Z or z is the 26th and final letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its usual names in English are zed and zee, with an occasional archaic variant izzard.
Ç or ç (c-cedilla) is a Latin script letter, used in the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Manx, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Kurdish, Zazaki, and Romance alphabets. Romance languages that use this letter include Catalan, French, Friulian, Ligurian, Occitan, and Portuguese as a variant of the letter C. It is also occasionally used in Crimean Tatar and in Tajik to represent the sound. It is often retained in the spelling of loanwords from any of these languages in English, Basque, Dutch, Spanish and other Latin script spelled languages.
Finnish orthography is based on the Latin script, and uses an alphabet derived from the Swedish alphabet, officially comprising 29 letters but also has two additional letters found in some loanwords. The Finnish orthography strives to represent all morphemes phonologically and, roughly speaking, the sound value of each letter tends to correspond with its value in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) – although some discrepancies do exist.
A caron, háček or haček also known as a hachek, wedge, check, inverted circumflex, inverted hat, flying bird, is a diacritic (ˇ) commonly placed over certain letters in the orthography of some Baltic, Slavic, Finnic, Samic, Berber, and other languages to indicate a change in the related letter's pronunciation.
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used in the orthography of a language to write either a single phoneme,
Italian orthography uses a variant of the Latin alphabet consisting of 21 letters to write the Italian language.
Esh is a character used in conjunction with the Latin script. Its lowercase form ʃ is similar to a long s ſ or an integral sign ∫; in 1928 the Africa Alphabet borrowed the Greek letter Sigma for the uppercase form Ʃ, but more recently the African reference alphabet discontinued it, using the lowercase esh only. The lowercase form was introduced by Isaac Pitman in his 1847 Phonotypic Alphabet to represent the voiceless postalveolar fricative. It is today used in the International Phonetic Alphabet, as well as in the alphabets of some African languages.
Ch is a digraph in the Latin script. It is treated as a letter of its own in Chamorro, Old Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Igbo, Kazakh, Uzbek, Quechua, Guarani, Welsh, Cornish, Breton, and Belarusian Łacinka alphabets. In Vietnamese and Modern Spanish, it also used to be considered a letter for collation purposes but this is no longer common.
L is the twelfth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is el, plural els.
In the Latin-based orthographies of many European languages, a distinction between hard and soft ⟨c⟩ occurs in which ⟨c⟩ represents two distinct phonemes. The sound of a hard ⟨c⟩ is that of the voiceless velar stop, while the sound of a soft ⟨c⟩, depending on language, may be a fricative or affricate. In English, the sound of soft ⟨c⟩ is.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article C .|