A, and a ( pronounced: [ ʔa ː ] ) is the first letter of the Latin alphabet and is pronounced different vowel sounds. It corresponds to the Alpha in Greek and Cyrillic alphabet in the letter А. The letter A has an average frequency of 6.51 %, making it the sixth most common letter in German texts behind the R and before T. In Morse code A and a are with • in German texts - illustrated.

Except in foreign words and names that A is the only letter in the German language, which may be at the beginning of a word twice, as in the word eel.


The originating from the proto- Semitic alphabet original form of the letter is probably the head of an ox. The Phoenicians gave this letter the name Aleph ( ox ). In the Phoenician alphabet in the 9th century BC, the character was already heavily stylized, the horns of the oxen were indicated by two strokes to the right. The phonetic value of Aleph among the Phoenicians was the glottal stop [ ʔ ]. Already at the Phoenician Aleph held the first place in the alphabet, which was adopted in the Hebrew alphabet, there is also a relationship with the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, the alif ( ا ).

When the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, they turned the sign around 90 ° and turned it into the Alpha. They had no need for the voiceless glottal plosive pronunciation, was present among the Phoenicians, and because Greek was rich in vowels, they used the sign for the phonetic value of [a]. In the earliest Greek documents from the 8th century BC, the letter was still lying there used, the 90 ° rotated version that appeared in later documents, prevailed.

The Etruscans took over the early Greek Alpha and left it largely unchanged. Only for better letters (from right to left) they provided the character with a downturn to the left. When the Romans created the Roman alphabet, they used the A from the Etruscan alphabet, which is phonetic value has also been maintained since the Greeks. This alphabet is still used today for a variety of written language, including for most of the European languages ​​, which it found its way into the Cyrillic alphabet.


The basic appearance of the capital letters is the two ( symmetric) diagonal top of converging lines and a horizontal line in the middle, but do not follow all of the fonts and families this concept. The outer lines may be in the direction and thickness asymmetric or run down parallel and above pass (eg, seven-segment display ) in an arc (eg Bauhaus ) or in a fourth horizontal line. Partially eliminates the midline, resulting in the appearance of a Greek lambda approaches ( Λ ) or an enlarged small n. In some broken scripts (eg fracture) the center line drops to the baseline and the left external line becomes an inwardly curved arc, whereby the letter up instead of down is open. In the script, the center line, and sometimes the tip is often carried out as a top loop; in some spellings sees the uppercase letter to lowercase round very similar ( eg Sütterlin ).

There are two basic forms of lowercase letters: open and closed / round. Both have evolved over the script ( with spring ) of the capital letter. The open form resembles a small, rotated by 180 ° E with a degree lower right. The closed form, wherein the center line is missing completely, is similar to a small o, that on the right side of a vertical tangent was added. Otherwise, the usual grinding for all the letters and serifs are found depending on the font. In standard documents is usually open, used in cursive and script fonts in the closed minuscule.

In Unicode the capital " A" by U 0041 and the small "a" is represented by U 0061. In ASCII is the big " A" of the Code 65, the small " a" of the code 97, it follows in binary built dual system, the string 01000001 for the big "A" and 01100001 for the small "a". In EBCDIC is the code for the big " A", the 193 and for the small "a" are the 129th The numeric representations in HTML and XML " A" and "a" for the upper and the lower case letters.

In addition to these direct representations, there are several pictorial or other representations of the letter " A". This includes, for example, the Morse code: · -. In Braille, the "A" is represented by a survey. Other forms of representation are available in the sign language in the form of closed fist in the finger alphabet, in the optical telegraphy and in the internationally valid flag alphabet:


The letter A is available in different languages ​​for different vowel sounds.

In German and many other languages ​​, it represents the open front unrounded front vowel [ a]: A is the sound most of the vowels, in his bringing about the tuning pitch freely emerges from the wide-open lips, while the tongue is pressed down into a flat position. The ratio of the three main vowels "a", "i" and "u " is represented by a vertical line as is " i" is the brightest at the top, "u" as the dumpfeste to the lower end "a" than the middle vowel in the exact center to stand the same. In German there are two different phonemes of the vowel: the short vowel a, eg in full, and the long vowel later formed in the throat a, such as in the Council.

The length of the vowel is marked differently.

  • Following Einzelkonsonant: Council, Day
  • Doubling of the vowel: Aar, hair, Aachen
  • The following hours: stretcher
  • At the end of a syllable: yes, Na ( - ) me, Ta ​​( - ) ler

Short vowel:

  • Following several consonants: office, mud
  • Doubling of the following consonant: mat
  • Before -ch, - sh, -st, - tz Bald

From a A a umlaut "ä" can, under certain conditions form.

  • Has: would
  • House: Houses

Derived diphthongs ( diphthongs ) are:

  • Au (skin)
  • AEU (skins )


  • I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. ( Rev 1:8 LUT).
  • A, the finest, most original of all the loud, from breast and throat full erschallend, the child, the first and easiest to produce learns the right with the alphabets of most languages ​​represent their tip ( of the Grimm dictionary )
  • In for a penny, in for a pound. ( Proverb)
  • Who says A must not B say. He can also recognize that A was wrong. ( Bertolt Brecht)