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The Semitic letter Dāleth may have developed from the logogram for a fish or a door. There are various Egyptian hieroglyphs that might have inspired this. In Semitic, Ancient Greek and Latin, the letter represented /d/; in the Etruscan alphabet the letter was superfluous but still retained (see letter B). The equivalent Greek letter is Delta, Δ.
The minuscule (lower-case) form of 'd' consists of a loop and a tall vertical stroke. It developed by gradual variations on the majuscule (capital) form. In handwriting, it was common to start the arc to the left of the vertical stroke, resulting in a serif at the top of the arc. This serif was extended while the rest of the letter was reduced, resulting in an angled stroke and loop. The angled stroke slowly developed into a vertical stroke.
Use in writing systems
In nearly all languages that use the Latin alphabet and the International Phonetic Alphabet ⟨d⟩ represents the voiced alveolar or voiced dental plosive /d/. However, in the Vietnamese alphabet, it represents the sound /z/ in northern dialects or /j/ in southern dialects. (See D with stroke and Dz (digraph).) In Fijian it represents a prenasalized stop /nd/. In some languages where voiceless unaspirated stops contrast with voiceless aspirated stops, ⟨d⟩ represents an unaspirated /t/, while ⟨t⟩ represents an aspirated /tʰ/. Examples of such languages include Icelandic, Scottish Gaelic, Navajo and the Pinyin transliteration of Mandarin.
Ancestors, descendants and siblings
- 𐤃 : Semitic letter Dalet, from which the following symbols originally derive
- Δ δ : Greek letter Delta, from which D derives
- Д д : Cyrillic letter De, also derived from Delta
- Ð ð : Latin letter Eth
- IPA-specific symbols related to D: ɖ
- D with diacritics: Đ đ Ɗ ɗ Ḋ ḋ Ḍ ḍ Ḑ ḑ Ḓ ḓ Ď ď Ḏ ḏ
Ligatures and abbreviations
|Unicode name||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER D||LATIN SMALL LETTER D|
|Numeric character reference||D||D||d||d|
- 1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.
In British Sign Language (BSL), the letter 'd' is indicated by signing with the right hand held with the index and thumb extended and slightly curved, and the tip of the thumb and finger held against the extended index of the left hand.
- "D" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "dee", op. cit.
- Lynch, John (1998). Pacific languages: an introduction. University of Hawaii Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-8248-1898-9.
- Gordon, Arthur E. (1983). Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy. University of California Press. p. 44. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
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