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The ISO basic Latin alphabet is a
Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as ...
and consists of two sets of 26 letters, codified in various national and international standards and used widely in international communication. They are the same letters that comprise the
English alphabet The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ...
. The two sets contain the following 26 letters each:


History

By the 1960s it became apparent to the computer and telecommunications industries in the First World that a non-proprietary method of encoding characters was needed. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) encapsulated the Latin script in their (ISO/IEC 646) 7-bit character-encoding standard. To achieve widespread acceptance, this encapsulation was based on popular usage. The standard was based on the already published ''American Standard Code for Information Interchange'', better known as ASCII, which included in the Character encoding, character set the 26 × 2 letters of the
English alphabet The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ...
. Later standards issued by the ISO, for example ISO/IEC 8859 (8-bit character encoding) and ISO/IEC 10646 (Latin characters in Unicode, Unicode Latin), have continued to define the 26 × 2 letters of the English alphabet as the basic Latin script with extensions to handle other letters in other languages.


Terminology

The Unicode block that contains the alphabet is called "Basic Latin (Unicode block), C0 Controls and Basic Latin". Two subheadings exist: * "Uppercase Latin alphabet": the letters start at U+0041 and contain the string LATIN CAPITAL LETTER in their descriptions * "Lowercase Latin alphabet": the letters start at U+0061 and contain the string LATIN SMALL LETTER in their descriptions There are also another two sets in the Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms block: * Uppercase: the letters start at U+FF21 and contain the string FULLWIDTH LATIN CAPITAL LETTER in their descriptions * Lowercase: the letters start at U+FF41 and contain the string FULLWIDTH LATIN SMALL LETTER in their descriptions


Timeline for encoding standards

* 1865 International Morse Code was standardized at the International Telegraphy Congress in Paris, and was later made the standard by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) * 1950s Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet by ICAO


Timeline for widely used computer codes supporting the alphabet

* 1963: ASCII (7-bit character-encoding standard from the American Standards Association, which became ANSI in 1969) * 1963/1964: EBCDIC (developed by IBM and supporting the same alphabetic characters as ASCII, but with different code values) * 1965-04-30: Ratified by Ecma International, ECMA as ECMA-6 based on work the ECMA's Technical Committee TC1 had carried out since December 1960. * 1972: ISO 646 (ISO 7-bit character-encoding standard, using the same alphabetic code values as ASCII, revised in second edition ISO 646:1983 and third edition ISO/IEC 646:1991 as a joint ISO/IEC standard) * 1983: ITU-T Rec. T.51 , ISO/IEC 6937 (a multi-byte extension of ASCII) * 1987: ISO/IEC 8859-1:1987 (8-bit character encoding) ** Subsequently, other versions and parts of ISO/IEC 8859 have been published. * Mid-to-late 1980s: Windows-1250, Windows-1252, and other encodings used in Microsoft Windows (some roughly similar to ISO/IEC 8859-1) * 1990: Unicode 1.0 (developed by the Unicode Consortium), contained in the block "C0 Controls and Basic Latin" using the same alphabetic code values as ASCII and ISO/IEC 646 ** Subsequently, other versions of Unicode have been published and it later became a joint ISO/IEC standard as well, as identified below. * 1993: ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993, ISO/IEC standard for characters in Unicode 1.1 ** Subsequently, other versions of ISO/IEC 10646-1 and one of ISO/IEC 10646-2 have been published. Since 2003, the standards have been published under the name "ISO/IEC 10646" without the separation into two parts. * 1997: Windows Glyph List 4


Representation

In ASCII the letters belong to the ASCII#ASCII printable characters, printable characters and in Unicode since version 1.0 they belong to the block "C0 Controls and Basic Latin". In both cases, as well as in ISO/IEC 646, ISO/IEC 8859 and ISO/IEC 10646 they are occupying the positions in hexadecimal notation 41 to 5A for uppercase and 61 to 7A for lowercase. Not case sensitive, all letters have code words in the ICAO spelling alphabet and can be represented with Morse code.


Usage

All of the lowercase letters are used in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). In Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet, X-SAMPA and SAMPA these letters have the same sound value as in IPA.


Alphabets containing the same set of letters

The list below only includes alphabets that lack: * letters whose diacritical marks make them distinct letters. * multigraphs that constitute distinct letters. English is one of few modern European languages requiring no diacritics for native words (although a diaeresis (diacritic), diaeresis is used by some American publishers in words such as "coöperation"). The constructed language Interlingua never use diacritics except in unassimilated loanwords. However, they can be removed if they are not used to modify the vowel (e.g. ''cafe'', from french: café). Malay and Indonesian (based on Malay) are the only languages outside Europe that use all the Latin alphabet and require no diacritics and ligatures. Many of the languages of Indonesia, 700+ languages of Indonesia also use the Indonesian alphabet to write their languages, some such as Javanese adding diacritics é and è, and some omitting q, x, and z.


Column numbering

The Roman (Latin) alphabet is commonly used for column numbering in a table or chart. This avoids confusion with row numbers using Arabic numerals. For example, a 3-by-3 table would contain Columns A, B, and C, set against Rows 1, 2, and 3. If more columns are needed beyond Z (normally the final letter of the alphabet), the column immediately after Z is AA, followed by AB, and so on (see bijective numeration#The bijective base-26 system, bijective base-26 system). This can be seen by scrolling far to the right in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or LibreOffice Calc. These are double-digit "letters" for table columns, in the same way that 10 through 99 are double-digit numbers. The Greek alphabet has a similar extended form that uses such double-digit letters if necessary, but it is used for chapters of a fraternity as opposed to columns of a table. Such double-digit letters for bullet points are AA, BB, CC, etc., as opposed to the number-like place value system explained above for table columns.


See also

* Hebrew alphabet * Greek alphabet * Latin alphabet **
Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as ...
for the sound correspondence ** List of Latin-script alphabets * Early Cyrillic alphabet, Cyrillic alphabets * Windows code pages


Notes


References

{{character encoding, state=collapsed ISO basic Latin alphabet, Latin alphabets