E

E
E e
(See below)
Usage
Writing system Latin script
Type Alphabet ic
Language of origin Latin language
Phonetic usage [e]
[]
[ɛ]
[ə]
[ɪ~i]
[ɘ]
[ʲe]
[h]
(English variations)
Unicode value U+0045, U+0065
Alphabetical position 5
History
Development
Time period ~-700 to present
Descendants  
  Ə
  Æ
  Œ
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  &
Sisters Е
Э
Є
Ё
Ә
Һ
ה



ه
ܗ

Ɛ
Ե ե
Է է
Ը ը

𐎅
Variations (See below)
Other
Other letters commonly used with ee
e(x)
e(x)(y)

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

History

Egyptian hieroglyph
q’
Phoenician
He
Etruscan
E
Greek
Epsilon
Roman/
Cyrillic
E

The Latin letter 'E' differs little from its source, the Greek letter epsilon, 'Ε'. This in turn comes from the Semitic letter , which has been suggested to have started as 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 the letter epsilon, used to represent /e/. The various forms of the Old Italic script and the Latin alphabet followed this usage.

Use in writing systems

English

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 /ɛ/ (as in 'met' or 'bed') remained a mid vowel. In other cases, the letter is silent, generally at the end of words.

Other languages

In the orthography of many languages it represents either [e], [], [ɛ], or some variation (such as a nasalized version) of these sounds, often with diacritics (as: e ê é è ë ē ĕ ě ė ę ) to indicate contrasts. Less commonly, as in French, German, or Saanich, e represents a mid-central vowel /ə/. Digraphs with e are common to indicate either diphthongs or monophthongs, such as ea or ee for /iː/ or /eɪ/ in English, ei for /aɪ/ in German, and eu for /ø/ in French or /ɔɪ/ in German.

Other systems

The International Phonetic Alphabet uses e for the close-mid front unrounded vowel or the mid front unrounded vowel.

Most common letter

'E' is the most common (or highest-frequency) letter in the English alphabet (starting off the typographer's phrase ETAOIN SHRDLU) and several other European languages, which has implications in both cryptography and data compression. In the story "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe, a character figures out a random character code by remembering that the most used letter in English is E. This makes it a hard and popular letter to use when writing lipograms. Ernest Vincent Wright's Gadsby (1939) is considered a "dreadful" novel, and supposedly "at least part of Wright's narrative issues were caused by language limitations imposed by the lack of E."[7] Both Georges Perec's novel A Void (La Disparition) (1969) and its English translation by Gilbert Adair omit 'e' and are considered better works.[8]

  • E with diacritics: Ĕ ĕ Ḝ ḝ Ȇ ȇ Ê ê Ê̄ ê̄ Ê̌ ê̌ Ề ề Ế ế Ể ể Ễ ễ Ệ ệ Ẻ ẻ Ḙ ḙ Ě ě Ɇ ɇ Ė ė Ė́ ė́ Ė̃ ė̃ Ẹ ẹ Ë ë È è È̩ è̩ Ȅ ȅ É é É̩ é̩ Ē ē Ḕ ḕ Ḗ ḗ Ẽ ẽ Ḛ ḛ Ę ę Ę́ ę́ Ę̃ ę̃ Ȩ ȩ E̩ e̩ [9]
  •  : E with notch is used in the Swedish Dialect Alphabet[10]
  • Æ æ : Latin AE ligature
  • Œ œ : Latin OE ligature
  • The umlaut diacritic ¨ used above a vowel letter in German and other languages to indicate a fronted or front vowel (this sign originated as a superscript e)
  • Phonetic alphabet symbols related to E (the International Phonetic Alphabet only uses lowercase, but uppercase forms are used in some other writing systems):
  • The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet uses various forms of e and epsilon / open e:[11]
    • U+1D07 LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL E
    • U+1D08 LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED OPEN E
    • U+1D31 MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL E
    • U+1D32 MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL REVERSED E
    • U+1D49 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL E
    • U+1D4B MODIFIER LETTER SMALL OPEN E
    • U+1D4C MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED OPEN E
    • U+2C7B LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL TURNED E[12]
  •  : Subscript small e is used in Indo-European studies[13]
  • Teuthonista phonetic transcription system symbols related to E:[14]
    • U+AB32 LATIN SMALL LETTER BLACKLETTER E
    • U+AB33 LATIN SMALL LETTER BARRED E
    • U+AB34 LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH FLOURISH

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets

  • 𐤄 : Semitic letter He (letter), from which the following symbols originally derive
    • Ε ε : Greek letter Epsilon, from which the following symbols originally derive

Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

Computing codes

CharacterEe
Unicode nameLATIN CAPITAL LETTER E  LATIN SMALL LETTER E
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode69U+0045101U+0065
UTF-8694510165
Numeric character referenceEEee
EBCDIC family197C513385
ASCII 1694510165
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations

In British Sign Language (BSL), the letter 'e' is signed by extending the index finger of the right hand touching the tip of index on the left hand, with all fingers of left hand open.

References

  1. "E" a letter Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1993). Ees is the plural of the name of the letter; the plural of the letter itself is rendered E's, Es, e's, or es.
  2. Kelk, Brian. "Letter frequencies". UK Free Software Network. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  3. Lewand, Robert. "Relative Frequencies of Letters in General English Plain text". Cryptographical Mathematics. Central College. Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  4. "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in Spanish". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  5. "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in French". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  6. "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in German". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Archived from the original on 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  7. Ross Eckler, Making the Alphabet Dance: Recreational Word Play. New York: St. Martin's Press (1996): 3
  8. Eckler (1996): 3. Perec's novel "was so well written that at least some reviewers never realized the existence of a letter constraint."
  9. 1 2 3 4 Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  10. Lemonen, Therese; Ruppel, Klaas; Kolehmainen, Erkki I.; Sandström, Caroline (2006-01-26). "L2/06-036: Proposal to encode characters for Ordbok över Finlands svenska folkmål in the UCS" (PDF).
  11. Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).
  12. Ruppel, Klaas; Rueter, Jack; Kolehmainen, Erkki I. (2006-04-07). "L2/06-215: Proposal for Encoding 3 Additional Characters of the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet" (PDF).
  13. Anderson, Deborah; Everson, Michael (2004-06-07). "L2/04-191: Proposal to encode six Indo-Europeanist phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).
  14. Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).
  • Media related to E at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of E at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of e at Wiktionary
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