F

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F
ISO basic Latin alphabet
AaBbCcDdEeFfGg
HhIiJjKkLlMmNn
OoPpQqRrSsTtUu
VvWwXxYyZz
 
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F
ISO basic Latin alphabet
AaBbCcDdEeFfGg
HhIiJjKkLlMmNn
OoPpQqRrSsTtUu
VvWwXxYyZz
Cursive.svg
Circle sheer blue 29.gif
Circle sheer blue 31.gif
Cursive script 'f' and capital 'F'

F (named ef[1] /ˈɛf/)[2] is the sixth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

History[edit]

Proto-Semitic
W
Phoenician 
waw
Etruscan
V or W
Greek
Digamma
Roman F
Proto-semiticW-01.pngPhoenicianW-01.pngDigamma uc lc.svgEtruscanF-01.svgRoman F

The origin of 'F' is the Semitic letter vâv (or waw) that represented a sound like /v/ or /w/. Graphically it originally probably depicted either a hook or a club. It may have been based on a comparable Egyptian hieroglyph such as that which represented the word mace (transliterated as ḥ(dj)):-

T3

The Phoenician form of the letter was adopted into Greek as a vowel, upsilon (which resembled its descendant, 'Y' but was also ancestor to Roman letters 'U', 'V', and 'W'); and with another form, as a consonant, digamma, which resembled 'F', but indicated the pronunciation /w/, as in Phoenician. (After /w/ disappeared from Greek, digamma was used as a numeral only.)

In Etruscan, 'F' probably represented /w/, as in Greek; and the Etruscans formed the digraph 'FH' to represent /f/. When the Romans adopted the alphabet, they used 'V' (from Greek upsilon) to stand for /w/ as well as /u/, leaving 'F' available for /f/. (At that time, the Greek letter phi 'Φ' represented an aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive /pʰ/, though in Modern Greek it approximates the sound of /f/.) And so out of the various vav variants in the Mediterranean world, the letter F entered the Roman alphabet attached to a sound which its antecedents in Greek and Etruscan did not have. The Roman alphabet forms the basis of the alphabet used today for English and many other languages.

The lowercase ' f ' is not related to the visually similar long s, ' ſ ' (or medial s). The use of the long s largely died out by the beginning of the 19th century, mostly to prevent confusion with ' f ' when using a short mid-bar (see more at: S).

Usage[edit]

In English orthography 'f' is used to represent the sound /f/. In the orthographies of other languages, 'f' commonly represents /f/, [ɸ] or /v/.

In French orthography, "f' is used to represent /f/. It may also be silent at the end of words.

In Spanish orthography, 'f' is used to represent /f/.

In the Hepburn romanization of Japanese, 'f' is used to represent [ɸ], which is usually considered to be an allophone of /h/ before /u/.

In phonetic and phonemic transcription, the International Phonetic Alphabet uses 'f' to represent the voiceless labiodental fricative.

Related letters and other similar characters[edit]

Computing codes[edit]

CharacterFf
Unicode nameLATIN CAPITAL LETTER F    LATIN SMALL LETTER F
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode70U+0046102U+0066
UTF-8704610266
Numeric character referenceFFff
EBCDIC family198C613486
ASCII 1704610266
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations[edit]

NATO phoneticMorse code
Foxtrot··–
ICS Foxtrot.svgSemaphore Foxtrot.svg⠋
Signal flagFlag semaphoreBraille

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spelled eff as a verb
  2. ^ "F", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); "ef", "eff", "bee" (under "bee eff"), op. cit.

External links[edit]


AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJjKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz
Letter F with diacritics
ḞḟƑƒ
Related