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B
B b
("See below)
""Writing cursive forms of B
Usage
Writing system "Latin script
"English alphabet
"ISO basic Latin alphabet
Type "Alphabetic
Language of origin "Latin language
Phonetic usage ["b]
["p]
["ɓ]
("Adapted variations)
Unicode value U+0042, U+0062
Alphabetical position 2
Numerical value: 2
History
Development
O1
D58
Time period unknown to present
Descendants  • "
 • "
 • "฿
Sisters "Б
"В
"בּ
ב
ب
ܒ

Բ բ
Variations ("See below)
Other
Other letters commonly used with "bv
"bh
bp
bm

"bf
Associated numbers 2

B or b ("pronounced "/b/ "BEE)[1][2] is the second "letter of the "ISO basic Latin alphabet. It represents the "voiced bilabial stop in many languages, including English. In some other languages, it is used to represent other "bilabial consonants.

Contents

History[edit]

Egyptian
"Pr
"Phoenician 
"bēt
"Greek
"beta
"Etruscan
B
"Roman
B
"Runic
"beorc
""Egyptian hieroglyphic house ""Phoenician beth ""Greek beta ""Etruscan B ""Roman B ""Runic B
"Uncial
B
"Insular
B
"Blackletter
B
"Antiqua
B
"Modern Roman
B
""Uncial B ""Insular b ""Blackletter b ""Antiqua B ""Roman B & b

"Old English was originally written in "runes, whose equivalent letter was "beorc"⟩, meaning ""birch". Beorc dates to at least the 2nd-century "Elder Futhark, which is now thought to have derived from the "Old Italic alphabets' ⟨ "𐌁 ⟩ either directly or via "Latin ⟨""B⟩.

The "uncial ⟨""B⟩ and "half-uncial ⟨""b⟩ introduced by the "Gregorian and "Irish missions gradually developed into the "Insular scripts' ⟨""b⟩. These "Old English Latin alphabets supplanted the earlier runes, whose use was fully banned under "King Canute in the early 11th century. The "Norman Conquest popularized the "Carolingian half-uncial forms which latter developed into "blackletter ⟨ ""b ⟩. Around 1300, "letter case was increasingly distinguished, with "upper- and "lower-case B taking separate meanings. Following the advent of "printing in the 15th century, "Germany and "Scandinavia continued to use forms of blackletter (particularly "Fraktur), while England eventually adopted the "humanist and "antiqua scripts developed in "Renaissance Italy from a combination of Roman inscriptions and Carolingian texts. The present forms of the "English cursive B were developed by the 17th century.

The Roman ⟨B⟩ derived from the "Greek capital "betaΒ⟩ via its "Etruscan and "Cumaean variants. The Greek letter was an adaptation of the "Phoenician letter "bēt𐤁⟩.[3] The "Egyptian "hieroglyph for the "consonant "/b/ had been an image of a "foot and calf ⟨ ""B ⟩,[4] but bēt (Phoenician for "house") was a modified form of a "Proto-Sinaitic "glyph ⟨ ""Bet ⟩ probably adapted from the separate "hieroglyph Pr ⟨ ""Per meaning "house".[5][6] The "Hebrew letter "beth"ב⟩ is a separate development of the Phoenician letter.[3]

By "Byzantine times, the Greek letter ⟨Β⟩ came to be pronounced "/v/,[3] so that it is known in "modern Greek as víta (still written βήτα). The "Cyrillic letter "veВ⟩ represents the same sound, so a modified form known as "beБ⟩ was developed to represent the "Slavic languages' "/b/.[3] (Modern Greek continues to lack a letter for the voiced bilabial plosive and transliterates such sounds from other languages using the "digraph/"consonant clusterμπ⟩, mp.)

Use in writing systems[edit]

English[edit]

In "English, ⟨b⟩ denotes the "voiced bilabial stop /b/, as in bib. In English, it is sometimes "silent. This occurs particularly in words ending in ⟨mb⟩, such as lamb and bomb, some of which originally had a /b/ sound, while some had the letter ⟨b⟩ added by analogy (see "Phonological history of English consonant clusters). The ⟨b⟩ in debt, doubt, subtle, and related words was added in the 16th century as an "etymological spelling, intended to make the words more like their "Latin originals (debitum, dubito, subtilis).

As /b/ is one of the sounds subject to "Grimm's Law, words which have ⟨b⟩ in English and other "Germanic languages may find their cognates in other "Indo-European languages appearing with ⟨bh⟩, ⟨p⟩, ⟨f⟩ or ⟨φ⟩ instead.[3] For example, compare the various cognates of the word brother.

Other languages[edit]

Many other languages besides English use ⟨b⟩ to represent a "voiced bilabial stop.

In "Estonian, "Icelandic, and "Chinese "Pinyin, ⟨b⟩ does not denote a voiced consonant. Instead, it represents a voiceless /p/ that contrasts with either a "geminated /p:/ (in Estonian) or an "aspirated /pʰ/ (in Pinyin, Danish and Icelandic) represented by "⟨p⟩. In "Fijian ⟨b⟩ represents a "prenasalized /mb/, whereas in "Zulu and "Xhosa it represents an "implosive /ɓ/, in contrast to the "digraph ⟨bh⟩ which represents /b/. "Finnish uses ⟨b⟩ only in "loanwords.

Phonetic transcription[edit]

In the "International Phonetic Alphabet, [b] is used to represent the "voiced bilabial stop "phone. In phonological transcription systems for specific languages, /b/ may be used to represent a "lenis "phoneme, not necessarily voiced, that contrasts with fortis /p/ (which may have greater aspiration, tenseness or duration).

Other uses[edit]

"B is also a "musical note. In "English-speaking countries, it represents Si, the 12th note of a "chromatic scale built on "C. In "Central Europe and "Scandinavia, "B" is used to denote "B-flat and the 12th note of the chromatic scale is denoted "H". Archaic forms of 'b', the b quadratum (square b, ) and b rotundum (round b, ) are used in "musical notation as the symbols for "natural and "flat, respectively.

In Contracted (grade 2) English braille, 'b' stands for "but" when in isolation.

In computer science, B is the symbol for "byte, a unit of information storage.

In engineering, B is the symbol for "bel, a unit of "level.

In chemistry, B is the symbol for "boron, a "chemical element.

Related characters[edit]

Ancestors, descendants and siblings[edit]

Derived ligatures, abbreviations, signs and symbols[edit]

Computing codes[edit]

Character B b
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER B   LATIN SMALL LETTER B
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
"Unicode 66 U+0042 98 U+0062
"UTF-8 66 42 98 62
"Numeric character reference B B b b
"EBCDIC family 194 C2 130 82
"ASCII 1 66 42 98 62
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations[edit]

"NATO phonetic "Morse code
Bravo –···
""ICS Bravo.svg ""Semaphore Bravo.svg ""Sign language B.svg ""⠃
"Signal flag "Flag semaphore "American manual alphabet ("ASL "fingerspelling) "Braille
"dots-12

References[edit]

  1. ^ "B", Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989 
  2. ^ "B", Merriam-Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 1993 
  3. ^ a b c d e Wikisource Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878), "B", "Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 173 
  4. ^ Schumann-Antelme, Ruth; Rossini, Stéphane (1998), "Illustrated Hieroglyphics Handbook, English translation by Sterling Publishing (2002), pp. 22–23, "ISBN "1-4027-0025-3 
  5. ^ "Goldwasser, Orly (Mar–Apr 2010), "How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs", "Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 36 (No. 1), "Washington: Biblical Archaeology Society, "ISSN 0098-9444 
  6. ^ It also resembles the "hieroglyph for /h/ ⟨ ""H ⟩ meaning "manor" or "reed shelter".
  7. ^ Constable, Peter (2003-09-30). "L2/03-174R2: Proposal to Encode Phonetic Symbols with Middle Tilde in the UCS" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF). 

External links[edit]

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