The Latin or Roman
alphabet developed from Etruscan before 600
b.c. The Latin alphabet
is used for languages that originated in Europe (with the
exception of some eastern European languages), and for other languages
as well. J, and U, and W were
differentiated from I and V. Z, and G were
Additional letters are added to represent sounds that
are perculiar to certain languages. Norwegian adds Å, Æ,
and Ø for the o in got, the ai in air, and the
i in bird, and, in addition, Icelandic adds Ð and Þ to
represent the th in the and the th in thin
respectively. In Spanish ñ is the sound of
ny, while in Portuguese ão has the sound of a nasal
ao. In French ç is a hissing sound. Some languages use
accents or other diacritical marks to make other modifications.
The Latin script was used
for inscriptions, and capital letters were easier to carve in stone.
So, initially, Latin was written in captal letters as in the
inscriptions. Only later did the lower case or miniscules develop.