ⓘ O

                                     

ⓘ O

O or o is the 15th letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet and the fourth vowel letter in the modern English alphabet. Its name in English is o, plural oes.

                                     

1. History

Its graphic form has remained fairly constant from Phoenician times until today. The name of the Phoenician letter was ʿeyn, meaning "eye", and indeed its shape originates simply as a drawing of a human eye possibly inspired by the corresponding Egyptian hieroglyph, cf. Proto-Sinaitic script. Its original sound value was that of a consonant, probably, the sound is represented by the cognate Arabic letter ع ʿayn.

The use of this Phoenician letter for a vowel sound is due to the early Greek alphabets, which adopted the letter as O "omicron" to represent the vowel /o/. The letter was adopted with this value in the Old Italic alphabets, including the early Latin alphabet. In Greek, a variation of the form later came to distinguish this long sound Omega, meaning "large O" from the short o Omicron, meaning "small o". Greek omicron gave rise to the corresponding Cyrillic letter O and the early Italic letter to runic ᛟ.

Even alphabets that are not derived from Semitic tend to have similar forms to represent this sound; for example, the creators of the Afaka and Ol Chiki scripts, each invented in different parts of the world in the last century, both attributed their vowels for to the shape of the mouth when making this sound.

                                     

2. Use in writing systems

English

The letter ⟨o⟩ is the fourth most common letter in the English alphabet. Like the other English vowel letters, it has associated "long" and "short" pronunciations. The "long" ⟨o⟩ as in boat is actually most often a diphthong (realized dialectically anywhere from in many languages. Other languages use ⟨o⟩ for various values, usually back vowels which are at least partly open. Derived letters such as ⟨o⟩ and ⟨o⟩ have been created for the alphabets of some languages to distinguish values that were not present in Latin and Greek, particularly rounded front vowels.

Other systems

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, ⟨ o ⟩ represents the close-mid back rounded vowel.

                                     

3.1. Related characters Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet

  • U+1D0F ᴏ LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL O
  • Ꝍ ꝍ: O with loop was used in some medieval Nordic orthographies
  • ⱺ: Small o with low ring inside is used in the Swedish Dialect Alphabet
  • U+1D54 ᵔ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TOP HALF O
  • U+1D17 ᴗ LATIN SMALL LETTER BOTTOM HALF O
  • Oe oe: Latin OE ligature
  • O with diacritics: o ǿ ᶱ o ȫ o ố ồ ổ ỗ o ǒ o ŏ ȏ o ɵ ơ ớ ờ ỡ o ở ỏ ō ṓ ṑ õ ȭ ṍ ṏ ǫ ȍ O̩ o̩ O̩ o̩ O̩ o̩ ǭ
  • U+1D52 ᵒ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL O
  • U+1D55 ᵕ MODIFIER LETTER SMALL BOTTOM HALF O
  • IPA-specific symbols related to O: ɔ
  • Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to O
  • U+1D3C ᴼ MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL O
  • U+1D11 ᴑ LATIN SMALL LETTER SIDEWAYS O
  • U+1D13 ᴓ LATIN SMALL LETTER SIDEWAYS O WITH STROKE
  • U+1D16 ᴖ LATIN SMALL LETTER TOP HALF O
  • U+AB3F ꬿ LATIN SMALL LETTER OPEN O WITH STROKE
  • U+AB3E ꬾ LATIN SMALL LETTER BLACKLETTER O WITH STROKE
  • Teuthonista phonetic transcription-specific symbols related to O
  • U+AB44 ꭄ LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED O OPEN-O WITH STROKE
  • U+AB43 ꭃ LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED O OPEN-O
  • U+AB3D ꬽ LATIN SMALL LETTER BLACKLETTER O
  • ₒ: Subscript small o is used in Indo-European studies


                                     

3.2. Related characters Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

  • ∅: empty set symbol
  • º: Masculine ordinal indicator
  • Ꝋ ꝋ: Forms of O were used for medieval scribal abbreviations