E

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E (play /ˈ/; named e, plural ees)[1] is the fifth letter and a vowel in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used letter in the Czech,[2] Danish,[2] Dutch,[2] English,[3] French,[4] German,[5] Hungarian,[2] Latin,[2] Norwegian,[2] Spanish,[6] and Swedish languages.[2]

Contents

History

‹E› differs little from its derived source, the Greek letter epsilon ‹Ε›. In etymology, the Semitic probably first represented a praying or calling human figure (hillul 'jubilation'), and was probably based on a similar Egyptian hieroglyph that indicated a different pronunciation. In Semitic, the letter represented /h/ (and /e/ in foreign words), in Greek became epsilon with the value /e/. Etruscans and Romans followed this usage. Although Middle English spelling used ‹e› to represent long and short /e/, the Great Vowel Shift, changed long /eː/ (as in me or bee) to /iː/ while short /e/ (as in met or bed) remains a mid vowel.

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