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This article is about the letter C itself. For other uses, see C (disambiguation).
Also, due to technical limitations, "C#" redirects here. For the article on the C# programming language, see C Sharp. For the article on the musical note C#, see musical notation.
In addition, if you're looking for the letter Ç, refer to Cedilla.
Look up C, c in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
OSI basic Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz
C in Copyright mark

The letter C is the third letter in the Latin alphabet. Its name in English is cee (IPA: [siː]).

C comes from the same letter as G or g. The Semites named it gimel, their word for a throwing stick. The sign is possibly adapted from an Egyptian hieroglyph for a boomerang. Some scholars claim that the Semitic Gimel (ג) pictured a camel, but most assume it was probably gaml (a throwing stick / boomerang).

In the Etruscan language, plosive consonants had no contrastive voicing, so the Greek Γ (Gamma) was adopted into the Estruscan alphabet to represent the /k/ phoneme. Already in the Western Greek alphabet, Gamma first took a Image:Early Etruscan C.gif form in Early Etruscan, then Image:Classical Etruscan C.gif in Classical Etruscan. In Early Latin it took a Image:Early Gamma.GIF form then C in Classical Latin. Early Latin used C for both /k/ and /g/, but during the 3rd century BC, a modified character, Image:Earlier Latin G.GIF or Image:Early Latin G.JPG, was introduced for /g/, and C itself retained for /k/. Hence, in the classical period and after, G was treated as the phonetic representative of gamma, and C as the equivalent of kappa, in the transliteration of Greek words into Roman spelling, as in KA∆MOΣ, KYPOΣ, ΦΩKIΣ, in Roman letters CADMVS, CYRVS, PHOCIS. It is also possible but uncertain that C represented only /g/ at a very early time, while K might have been used for /k/.

Other alphabets have letters identical to C in form but not in use and derivation, in particular the Cyrillic letter Es which derives from one form of the Greek letter sigma, known as the "lunate sigma" from its resemblance to a crescent moon.


[edit] Later use

Wikisource has an original article from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica about:

When the Roman alphabet was introduced into Britain, C represented only /k/ and this value of the letter has been retained in loanwords to all the insular Celtic languages: in Welsh, Irish, Gaelic, C, c, is still only /k/. The Old English or "Anglo-Saxon" writing was learned from the Celts, apparently of Ireland; hence C, c, in Old English, also originally represented /k/: the words kin, break, broken, thick, seek, were in Old English written cyn, brecan, brocen, Þicc, séoc. But during the course of the Old English period, /k/ before front vowels (/e/ and /i/) became palatalized, and had, by the 10th century, advanced nearly or quite to the sound of /tʃ/, though still written c, as in cir(i)ce, wrecc(e)a. On the continent, meanwhile, a similar phonetic change had also been going on.

Original Latin /k/ before front vowels had palatalized in Italy to the sound of /tʃ/, and in France to that of /ts/. Yet for these new sounds the old character C, c, was still retained before e and i, the letter thus represented two distinct values. Moreover the Latin phoneme /kʷ/ (represented by QV, or qu) de-labialized to /k/ meaning that the various Romance languages had /k/ before front vowels. In addition, Northern French used the Greek letter K, so that the sound /k/ could be represented by either k or c, the latter of which could represent either /k/ or /ts/. These French inconsistencies as to C and K were, after the Norman Conquest, applied to the writing of English, which caused a considerable re-spelling of the Old English words. Thus while Old English candel, clif, corn, crop, cú, remained unchanged, Cent, cæ´Image:Insular G.GIF (cé´Image:Insular G.GIF), cyng, brece, séoce, were now (without any change of sound) spelt Kent, keȝ, kyng, breke, seoke; even cniht was subsequently spelt kniht, knight, and Þic, Þicc, became thik, thikk, thick. The Old English cw- was also at length (very unnecessarily) displaced by the French qw, qu, so that the Old English cwén, cwic, became Middle English qwen, quen, qwik, quik, now queen, quick. The sound /tʃ/ to which Old English palatalized c had advanced, also occurred in French, chiefly (in Central French) from Latin c before a. In French it was represented by ch, as in champ, cher:–Latin camp-um, caōr-um; and this spelling was now introduced into English: the Hatton Gospels, written about 1160, have in Matt. i-iii, child, chyld, riche, mychel, for the cild, rice, mycel, of the Old English version whence they were copied. In these cases, the Old English c gave place to k, qu, ch; but, on the other hand, c in its new value of /ts/ came in largely in French words like processiun, emperice, grace, and was also substituted for ts in a few Old English words, as miltse, bletsien, in early Middle English milce, blecien. By the end of the 13th century both in France and England, this sound /ts/ de-affricated to /s/; and from that date c before front vowels has been, phonetically, a duplicate or subsidiary letter to s; used either for "etymological" reasons, as in lance, cent, or (in defiance of etymology) to avoid the ambiguity due to the "etymological" use of s for /z/, as in ace, mice, once, pence, defence.

Thus, to show the etymology, English spelling has advise, devise, instead of advize, devize, which while advice, device, dice, ice, mice, twice, etc., do not reflect etymology; example has extended this to hence, pence, defence, etc., where there is no etymological necessity for c. Former generations also wrote sence for sense.

Hence, today the Romance languages and English have a common feature inherited from Vulgar Latin where C takes on either a "hard" or "soft" value depending on the following vowel. In English and French, C takes the "hard" value /k/ finally and before A, O, and U, and the "soft" value /s/ before Æ, E, I, Œ or Y. However, as with everything else regarding English Spelling, there are many exceptions: "soccer" and "Celt" are words that have a k sound in the "wrong" place. Romance languages obey similar rules, but the soft value is different in several languages, such as a voiceless dental fricative/θ/ in Castilian Spanish and /ʧ/ in Italian and Romanian.

Other languages use C with different values, such as /k/ regardless of position in Irish and Welsh; /θ/ in Fijian; /ʤ/ in Turkish, Tatar, and Azeri; /ʧ/ in Indonesian and Malay; /ʦ/ in Albanian, Bosnian, Czech, Croatian, Esperanto, Estonian, Hungarian, Ido, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish; and /tsʰ/ in Romanized Chinese. It is also used as a transliteration of the Cyrillic "Ц" in the Latinic forms of Serbian and Macedonian.

There are several common digraphs with C, the most common being CH, which in some languages such as German is far more common than C alone. In English, CH most commonly takes the value /ʧ/, but can take the value /k/ or /ʃ/; some dialects of English also have /x/ in words like loch where other speakers pronounce the final sound as /k/. CH takes various values in other languages, such as /ç/]], /k/, or /x/ in German, /ʃ/ in French, /k/ in Italian, /ʈʂʰ/ in Mandarin Chinese, and so forth. CK, with the value /k/, is often used after short vowels in Germanic languages such as English, German and Swedish (but some other Germanic languages use KK instead, such as Dutch and Norwegian). The digraph CZ is found in Polish and CS in Hungarian, both representing /ʧ/. In Old English, Italian, and a few languages related to Italian, sc represents /ʃ/ (however in Italian and related languages this only happens before e or i, otherwise it represents /sk/).

As a phonetic symbol, lowercase c is the International Phonetic Alphabet and X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal plosive, and capital C is the X-SAMPA symbol for the voiceless palatal fricative.

[edit] Various Codes for computing

Alternative representations for C
NATO phonetic Morse code
Charlie –·–·
Image:ICS Charlie.svg Image:Semaphore Charlie.svg Image:ASL Charlie.png Image:Braille C3.svg
Signal flag Semaphore ASL Manual Braille

In Unicode the capital C is codepoint U+0043 and the lowercase c is U+0063.

The ASCII code for capital C is 67 and for lowercase c is 99; or in binary 01000011 and 01100011, respectively.

The EBCDIC code for capital C is 195 for lowercase c is 131.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "C" and "c" for upper and lower case respectively.

[edit] Meanings For Letter C In English Alphabet

[edit] See also

Two-letter combinations
Ca Cb Cc Cd Ce Cf Cg Ch Ci Cj Ck Cl Cm Cn Co Cp Cq Cr Cs Ct Cu Cv Cw Cx Cy Cz
Letter-digit & Digit-letter combinations
C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9
0C 1C 2C 3C 4C 5C 6C 7C 8C 9C

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
ɑ Æ

bs:C ca:C cs:C sn:C co:C da:C de:C arc:C el:C (γράμμα) es:C eo:C eu:C fr:C (lettre) gd:C gl:C ko:C hr:C io:C ilo:C id:C it:C he:C kw:C la:C (littera) hu:C nl:C (letter) ja:C no:C nn:C pl:C pt:C ro:C ru:C (латиница) simple:C sk:C sl:C fi:C sv:C tl:C th:C vi:C tr:C yo:C zh:C


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