standard set of letters that represent phonemes
An alphabet is a standard set of letters (basic written symbols or graphemes) which is used to write one or more languages based on the general principle that the letters represent phonemes (basic significant sounds) of the spoken language.
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- A scholar like myself who is not a Sinologist and yet ventures the proposition that Chinese languages should be rewritten in the Greek alphabet (or "Romanized", to use the current term) is treading on uncharted territory (for him) and does so at his peril.
- The chief cause which made the fusion of the different elements of society so imperfect was the extreme difficulty which our ancestors found in passing from place to place. Of all inventions, the alphabet and the printing press alone excepted, those inventions which abridge distance have done most for the civilisation of our species. Every improvement of the means of locomotion benefits mankind morally and intellectually as well as materially, and not only facilitates the interchange of the various productions of nature and art, but tends to remove national and provincial antipathies, and to bind together all the branches of the great human family.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England, 5th ed., vol. 1, chapter 3, p. 370 (1849).