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  • An alphabet is a standard set of letters which is used to write one or more languages based on the general principle that the letters represent phonemes of the spoken language. This is in contrast to other types of writing systems, such as syllabaries and logographies. According to a terminology introduced by Peter T. Daniels, an "alphabet" in the narrow sense is one that represents both vowels and consonants as letters equally. The first "true alphabet" in this sense was the Greek alphabet, which was developed on the basis of the earlier Phoenician alphabet. In other alphabetic scripts, such as the original Phoenician, Hebrew or Arabic, letters predominantly or exclusively represent only consonants; such a script is also called an abjad. A third type, called abugida or alphasyllabary, is one where vowels are shown by diacritics or modifications of consonantal base letters, as in Devanagari and other South Asian scripts. There are dozens of alphabets in use today, the most popular being the Latin alphabet. Many languages use modified forms of the Latin alphabet, with additional letters formed using diacritical marks.

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