More-logical alphabets

Sunday 3 November 2002

Halley Suitt made a comment about how M should clearly come after N in the alphabet, since M builds on N the way W builds on V (or is it U?). It’s a fascinating nugget of an idea, sitting snuggly at the intersection of typography and linguistics.

David Weinberger responds by re-ordering the whole alphabet based on which letterforms are derivative of which. Since it is all subjective anyway, I can quibble with the details (I always thought of an F as an E with a line missing, rather than an E as an F with a line added), but the exercise is fun in any case. And why does Z come after M in the upper case, but after X in the lower case?

Also found on JOHO: the factoid that the peace symbol is a combination of the semaphore signals for ‘N’ and ‘D’ (the initials of Nuclear Disarmament), and a proposal for a hand gesture for “forgive me”.


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