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C, third letter in the English- and Romance-language alphabets.

The symbol is derived from Latin C, a rounding of the Greek gamma, which was derived from a Phoenician symbol called gimel or camel, which was in turn developed from an Egyptian symbol.

Latin c had both a g and a k sound. In Anglo-Saxon, c had at first only the k sound, the modern word child having been spelled cild.

By the 12th century c had the sound of s in a number of words.

From this arose the modern rule that c has the s or sh sound before e, i, y ae, and oe, and the k sound in all other cases.        


Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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