Egypt has been home to a fascinating and vibrant Pharaonic culture that spanned over thousands of years. Leaving behind famous monuments such as the Pyramids, colossal statues of ancient rulers, and colorful temples, very few people would know that the modern-day English alphabet traces its origins back to Hieroglyphic script.
Thanks to Matt Baker (of UsefulCharts), a handy poster titled
Evolution of the Alphabet was created that documents the evolution of the English alphabet from its ancient Egyptian roots (c. 1750 BC) up to present day Latin script. The English language, having undergone massive changes through the various cultures that appropriated the original Egyptian script, bears little resemblance to the pictorial symbols which characterize the Hieroglyphic alphabet. Matt Baker was, therefore, able to accurately capture the evolution of language through a step-by-step depiction of the six cultural stops English went through before evolving into its present form.
For example, the letter “A” started as an Egyptian hieroglyphic that looks like an animal head with horns. Through Phoenician (c. 1000 BCE), early Greek (c. 750 BCE), and early Latin (c. 500 BCE) periods, the lines that made “A” eventually simplified to become the symbol we know today. The letter “C” was shaped like a boomerang or hunter’s stick. After around 1600 years it changed into a more fluid crescent shape, and approximately another 500 years passed until the Romans changed it into the way it is written today.