F
F f
Usage
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabetic
Language of originLatin language
Phonetic usage
Unicode codepointU+0046 U+0066
Alphabetical position6
Numerical value: 6, 15
History
Development
Time period~-700 to present
Descendants
Sisters
Transliteration equivalents
Other
Other letters commonly used withf(x)
Associated numbers6, 15
Writing directionLeft-to-Right
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

F, or f, is the sixth letter of the Latin alphabet, used in the modern English alphabet, the alphabets of other western European languages and others worldwide. Its name in English is ef[note 1] (pronounced /ˈɛf/), and the plural is efs.[1]

History

Proto-Sinaitic Phoenician
waw
Western Greek
Digamma
Etruscan
V or W
Latin
F
Latin F

The origin of 'F' is the Semitic letter waw that represented a sound like /v/ or /w/. Graphically it originally probably depicted either a hook or a club. It may have been based on a comparable Egyptian hieroglyph such as that which represented the word mace (transliterated as ḥ(dj)):

T3

The Phoenician form of the letter was adopted into Greek as a vowel, upsilon (which resembled its descendant 'Y' but was also the ancestor of the Roman letters 'U', 'V', and 'W'); and, with another form, as a consonant, digamma, which indicated the pronunciation /w/, as in Phoenician. Latin 'F,' despite being pronounced differently, is ultimately descended from digamma and closely resembles it in form.

After sound changes eliminated /w/ from spoken Greek, digamma was used only as a numeral. However, the Greek alphabet also gave rise to other alphabets, and some of these retained letters descended from digamma. In the Etruscan alphabet, 'F' probably represented /w/, as in Greek, and the Etruscans formed the digraph 'FH' to represent /f/. (At the time these letters were borrowed, there was no Greek letter that represented /f/: the Greek letter phi 'Φ' then represented an aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive /ph/, although in Modern Greek it has come to represent /f/.) When the Romans adopted the alphabet, they used 'V' (from Greek upsilon) not only for the vowel /u/, but also for the corresponding semivowel /w/, leaving 'F' available for /f/. And so out of the various vav variants in the Mediterranean world, the letter F entered the Roman alphabet attached to a sound which the Greeks did not have. The Roman alphabet forms the basis of the alphabet used today for English and many other languages.

The lowercase 'f' is not related to the visually similar long s, 'ſ' (or medial s). The use of the long s largely died out by the beginning of the 19th century, mostly to prevent confusion with 'f' when using a short mid-bar.

Use in writing systems

Pronunciation of ⟨f⟩ by language
Orthography Phonemes
Standard Chinese (Pinyin) /f/
English /f/, /v/
French /f/, silent
German /f/
Portuguese /f/
Spanish /f/
Turkish /f/

English

In the English writing system ⟨f⟩ is used to represent the sound /f/, the voiceless labiodental fricative. It is often doubled at the end of words. Exceptionally, it represents the voiced labiodental fricative /v/ in the common word "of" and its derivatives.

F is the eleventh least frequently used letter in the English language (after G, Y, P, B, V, K, J, X, Q, and Z), with a frequency of about 2.23% in words.

Other languages

In the writing systems of other languages, ⟨f⟩ commonly represents /f/, [ɸ] or /v/.

Other systems

The International Phonetic Alphabet uses f to represent the voiceless labiodental fricative.

Other uses

Main article: F (disambiguation)

Related characters

Ancestors, descendants and siblings

Ligatures and abbreviations

Other representations

Computing

These are the code points for the forms of the letter in various systems

Character information
Preview F f
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER F LATIN SMALL LETTER F FULLWIDTH LATIN CAPITAL LETTER F FULLWIDTH LATIN SMALL LETTER F
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 70 U+0046 102 U+0066 65318 U+FF26 65350 U+FF46
UTF-8 70 46 102 66 239 188 166 EF BC A6 239 189 134 EF BD 86
Numeric character reference F F f f F F f f
EBCDIC family 198 C6 134 86
ASCII 1 70 46 102 66
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other

NATO phonetic Morse code
Foxtrot
  ▄ ▄ ▄▄▄ ▄ 

⠋
Signal flag Flag semaphore American manual alphabet (ASL fingerspelling) British manual alphabet (BSL fingerspelling) Braille dots-124
Unified English Braille

Notes

  1. ^ Spelled eff when used as a verb

References

  1. ^ "F", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); "ef", "eff", "bee" (under "bee eff"), op. cit.
  2. ^ Randel, Don Michael (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press Reference Library.
  3. ^ "Forte". Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Press F to pay respects". Know Your Meme. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ Constable, Peter (2003-09-30). "L2/03-174R2: Proposal to Encode Phonetic Symbols with Middle Tilde in the UCS" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).
  8. ^ Heepe, Martin (1928). Lautzeichen und ihre Anwendung in verschiedenen Sprachgebieten (in German). Berlin: Reichsdruckerei.
  9. ^ "Latin Extended-D" (PDF).
  10. ^ Everson, Michael; Baker, Peter; Emiliano, António; Grammel, Florian; Haugen, Odd Einar; Luft, Diana; Pedro, Susana; Schumacher, Gerd; Stötzner, Andreas (2006-01-30). "L2/06-027: Proposal to add Medievalist characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  11. ^ Miller, Kirk; Cornelius, Craig (2020-09-25). "L2/20-251: Unicode request for modifier Latin capital letters" (PDF).
  12. ^ Everson, Michael (2006-08-06). "L2/06-266: Proposal to add Latin letters and a Greek symbol to the UCS" (PDF).
  13. ^ Perry, David J. (2006-08-01). "L2/06-269: Proposal to Add Additional Ancient Roman Characters to UCS" (PDF).
  14. ^ Everson, Michael (2005-08-12). "L2/05-193R2: Proposal to add Claudian Latin letters to the UCS" (PDF).