For technical reasons C # is forwarded here. For the C # programming language see C- Sharp. For the C programming language, see C ( programming language)

C or c (pronounced [ tse ː ] ) is the third letter of the Latin alphabet. He called there first the velar plosives / k / and / g / (the latter represented since the 3rd century BC by the newly created G); due to the attested since the Late Latin assibilation before front vowel denoted c in most Romance and still many other languages ​​also have a (post-) alveolar affricate (Italian [ ʧ ], dt tschech. [ ʦ ] ) or a dental or alveolar fricative ( French engl. [s ], Spanish [ θ / S] ).


In most Romance languages ​​and used in medieval and modern pronunciation of Latin and many of it borrowed words c comes before consonants and back vowels (including / a / ) for the voiceless velar plosive / k / before original front vowels e, i (also before Latin ae, oe, y ), however, of a sibilant sound ( depending on language and language level one affricate / ʧ /, / ʦ / or a pure fricative / s /, / ʃ /, / θ /; cf. Romance palatalization ). The distribution of these allophones after it the following vowel is occasionally in language-specific phonetics through the series ka - summarized reproduced ku (so-called Ka - ze- zi -ko -ku - rule) or a mnemonic following types of ce / ze - ci / zi - - ko: " After a, o, u say c as k before e and i say c such " Where such a sibilant before a rear consonants such as / a /, / o /, / u / (or a later resulting therefrom front vowel such as French [y ] < lat / u /) are he s or digraphs ci is often ç, z, respectively. Conversely, advocates for the velars before front vowel qu, k or ch. In addition, the letter c is also commonly partially replaced by z and k, eg in today's German loanwords in Latin: Circus Circus instead.

Outside the Italian the digraph ch in many Romance languages, is also a sibilant, in German and in Gaelic for a velar or palatal fricative. The combination ck is used in German as a variant of k to designate that the preceding vowel is pronounced short; trigraph sch represents the sound [ ʃ ] is (as in school).


The originating from the proto- Semitic alphabet archetype of the letter represents a foot in the Phoenician alphabet dar. this meaning was retained. The letter was given the name Gimel ( Camel ) and had the phonetic value [g ]. The Greeks took the letter gamma. Initially, the gamma was written in a form that looked like a roof (similar to the later Lambda ). By the classical period, the gamma to Γ developed further. With responsible was probably next to the change of writing direction from right -to-left to left-to - right and the necessary exchange of writing tools for describing organic matter.

When the Etruscans took over the early Greek alphabet, they had no use for the gamma, as voiced in the Etruscan plosives such as [ g] did not occur. However, the Etruscan language had three k- lute. Therefore, the Etruscans modified the phonetic value of the letter to reflect the voiceless plosive [k ] before [e ] or [ i].

With just the phonetic value then wandered the character C in the Latin alphabet and was developed by the Romans, who certainly distinguish between the tenuis K and the Media G, as originally for the lute [g ] and [ k], more precisely, for the syllables [ ge]; [ gi ] and [ ke ]; [ ki ] is set. If in the Archaic period in the Latin script practice three different colored by their subsequent sounds [k ] sounds were signs moderately not consistently distinguished, yet continued differentiation, namely, C before [e ], [i ], K before [a ] and Liquid, Q before [o ], [ u], of which the former is also still responsible for our current G.

As early as the 4th century BC came to the conclusion of this process, by the letter Q made ​​only before the consonantal [ u], while the letter K from the 3rd century BC only in stereotyped abbreviations as Cal. = kalendae and the stigma K. = Kalumniator occurred. Both letters were ousted in favor of C.

Now, however, depended also the [g ] According to the letter C and, according to Plutarch ( Quest. Rome. 54) it was 230 BC the consul Spurius Carvilius Ruga, the G pulled out by the addition of a line from the C, and transported over the place, which the [ ts ] sound, so the Greek Zeta, our Zet, took in the Greek. Get remained the symbol C [ge ] as -sound only in the abbreviations C. = Gaius and CN. = Gnaeus.

It is interesting that the Romans the new letters, ie linking the character C with cauda ( tail) = G with the sounds [g ], not the end of the alphabet set, as later happened to the Greek Y and Z, but to the place that fell to the Zet after the Greek alphabets. After the voiced [ z] sound, which stood at the Zeta - place in the alphabet, ie at the 7th digit and was represented by the character ' I', had become R ( fesiae → feriae ), the sign was no longer necessary and the letter 312 BC (Mark Capella: 1.3) was the Censor Appius Claudius Caecus repaid. Moreover, Greece was not yet conquered and Greek scholarship in Rome is not at home ). This could be an indication that there is a gap was felt, because even in Rome had the letter nor the ancient Phoenician number meaning.

In late Latin from the 5th century AD, the [k ] was in front of a bright vowel to [ ts ]. This debate has become the standard in medieval Latin, it is the reason that the C today has different phonetic values ​​. This development was further continued in part in Romance languages ​​; the C has there also the phonetic values ​​[ tʃ ], [ s] or [ θ ].


Since we, like the Greeks and Slavs, which express the tenuis gutturallauts with K, so the removed from the Roman alphabet C is for quite superfluous, and therefore also lacks the Gothic and Old Norse scripture, the Slavs use it for S, the Poland and Bohemia indispensable for Z. (...) but remains as long as we are not a simple character, such as the Goths, the gr X assume for the kehlaspirata, C in CH. ( of the Grimm dictionary )