What is the difference between a letter and an alphabet?
Many people get confused between a letter and an alphabet. It seems our Indian English education has messed up the two because most of the people use them interchangeably. They are perhaps not knowing these are two different things.
The Alphabet: The “alphabet” refers tothe collection of all letters from A-Z in English language and whatever to Whatever in other languages. Every language has its own alphabet. We can say “the Hindi alphabet” or “the Greek alphabet”, which refer to the collection of all the letters used in Hindi or Greek, respectively. If we allude to “a Hindi letter” or “some Greek letters”, we are not referring to the whole alphabet, but just one or more letters in an alphabet.
Thus simply put, the alphabet is the set of available letters that are used to represent the words of our language, whatever it is. The word ‘alphabet’ has a Greek derivation- ‘Alpha – beta’ are the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. Just trim off the last ‘a’ or alpha.
The alphabet is the backbone of any language. It is needed to read and write a language, and it comprises both the vowels as well as the consonants. The English language was first made using Anglo-Saxon alphabet because of the alphabets of Angles and Saxons who came from German and inhabited a part of England. Missionaries, however, introduced the Latin alphabet to the English language that gradually replaced the Anglo-Saxon alphabet and formed the basis of new English.
The letter: The term “letter” refers to each individual written symbols of the alphabet. They are the building blocks of a language. In English, there are 26 letters from A to Z that are enough to read and write the English language. Each letter has its own sound that helps in recognition during the conversation. Without these letters, the writing of a language is not possible. Every letter in English has its own name and as well as the sound. Every letter is placed in the alphabet in order. This order is called in alphabetical order and it helps to put words in a dictionary in alphabetical order. Letters have indivisible sounds in the sense that words have a composite sound composed of the sounds of these letters.