The additions and changes went on by degrees, and differently in different parts and colonies of Greece; the final form is that given by the Ionians of Asia Minor, and adopted throughout the whole of Greece about 400 B. 0. The Semitic original was always written from right to left; the earliest Greek was written either way, or in different directions in alternate lines (the characters being made to face the other way when written from left to right); finally, the present method became established in universal use. - The form of Greek alphabet from which is derived the Latin was not that one which, as above described, was finally adopted throughout Greece, but differed from it in sundry particulars: the H still had its h value; the Q was still used, and was retained by. the Latins for writing the k sound followed by u before another vowel; the character for w, or the di-gamma, was also in use, and was applied to represent the (as labial, somewhat kindred) sound f, for which the Greek had no sign; and X (as generally on the mainland of Greece and in her western colonies) had the value of ks, not of ch. The earliest Latin alphabet, then, was A, B, C (pronounced as g), D, E, F, Z, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, 21 letters.

A Z is found in the earliest monuments, but speedily went out of use, and was about the time of Cicero reintroduced as a foreigner, along with (originally the same sign with V, but having now become fixed in Greek usage in this form, and having taken a new value, that of the French u or German u), in order to write in Greek words the peculiar Greek sounds of those letters. A very peculiar change in the constitution of the Latin alphabet was made in connection with C, K, and G. The K passed out of customary use about the time of the decemvirs, and was employed only in a small number of words (with occasional occurrence in others), while C, the equivalent of the Greek gamma, and originally having the same value, was employed to write both the g and k sounds - doubtless because these two sounds were in the popular utterance only imperfectly distinguished from one another. And when later (about 300 B. C), under Greek influence, the careful distinction of the two sounds in writing was resumed, instead of giving C its old value and restoring K to common use, the Romans very strangely continued to the former its k value, and made from it by a slight alteration a new sign, G, for the g value. The final Latin scheme, after the addition of Y and Z, thus consisted of 23 signs.

In it and J were not distinguished, nor U and V; J and U are merely graphic variations of I and V, and of the same value with the latter; the Romans did not regard the vowel and semivowel values of these two sounds - i (that is, i in pique, or "long e," as we call it) and y on the one side, u (that is, u in rule, or the long sound of double o in fool) and w on the other - as being sufficiently diverse to need a double designation. - The chief alteration, now, that the Latin alphabet has undergone in being adapted to English use is the establishment of J and U as independent letters with distinct values, by the side of l and V; J having for us the peculiar sound (nearly a compound of d with zh, or with the z sound of azure) into which the Latin J or y sound has been usually converted, and V being applied to represent the sound into which, in most of the literary languages of modern Europe (as in the later Latin also), the original w sound has passed. And then, as final extension, we have, in common with some other European languages, added a "double U " - i. e., VV or W - to represent the u semivowel, or w sound: this character is of a date no more ancient than the middle ages.

By all these various reductions and additions, our alphabet has grown from the original 22 signs of the Phoenician to the present scheme of 26 signs; which, by way of summary, we may distribute into eight classes, as follows: 1, letters inherited from the Phoenicians, and still bear-ing nearly their Phoenician value, are twelve, namely, B, D, H, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T; 2, letters originally Phoenician, but having their value changed by the Greeks (in every case but one from consonant to vowel), are five, namely, A, E, l, O, Z; 3, additional letters in-vented by the Greeks are two, namely, U (=V or Y), X; 4, Phoenician letters entering into the Latin alphabet with changed value are two, namely, C, F; 5, of Latin invention is a single letter, G; 6, imported from Greek into Latin in differentiated form and with later Greek value is one, Y; 7, varying graphic forms of Latin letters, raised in modern times to independent value, are two, J, V; 8, recent addition, made by doubling an old sign, is one letter, W. If we had shown, in the handling of the system of signs received from abroad, the same freedom and independence as the Greeks and Romans, we should have an alphabet of at least 32 letters, instead of 26; for we require separate representatives for the vowel sound in cat and care, for that in what and all, and for that in hut and burn; and for the sibilants in shun and azure, the initial spirants of thin and this, and the nasal in singing; while the ch sound in church is also, though strictly of compound nature, well entitled to a separate character: the C, Q, and X, on the other hand, having no value which should render their retention necessary. - The ground of the arrangement of our alphabet is in the main inferrible from the account of its history given above, being, when once started from the Phoenician basis, strictly a historical one: A to F follow the Phoenician order; G was put by the Romans in the place of the consciously omitted Z; H and l, again, have their Phoenician positions; J follows the letter of which it is, as it were, the recently separated shadow; K to T, again, are in their Phoenician places; U comes next, as being the first addition made by the Greeks, and it is succeeded by V and W, as l by J; X is another Greek addition, adopted into the earliest Roman alphabet; Y and Z are the later additions made to the Latin from the Greek. When, however, we come to inquire into the reason for the Phoenician order itself, we are baffled, and unable to arrive at any satisfactory results; the arrangement seems to be almost altogether fortuitous.