Why do we need 26 letters in the English alphabet..?

Hi friends…

The 26 alphabets , in my opinion, are not needed for English. You can wonder why in the world some one is trying to cut short the already-compacted language with minimum alphabets.

Ok…let me bring out my suggestions.

First of all I will suggest to remove the last alphabet of English. Yes. " Z " is not needed for its most usages can be replaced by " S ". Please consider this point with open heart and do some analysis.

zigzag = sigsag
zeebra = seebra
zenith = senith
dizzy = dissy
jazz = jass

You can imagine the alphabet Z is the mirrored image of S.

So far I have submitted my first and foremost suggestion. Can anyone give me enough reason why we need the last alphabet of english…?

Waiting to see my suggestion becomes more important topic.

Better comments and views are welcome.

In short, we need the letter ‘z’ because it represents a different sound than the letter ‘s’.

To get rid of the letter ‘z’, you would have to get rid of that sound in English, because there’s nothing else to represent it.

/s/ represents a voiceless lingual aveolar fricative, and /z/ represents a voiced lingual aveolar fricative.

In other words, your tongue is in the same place, touching the upper aveolar ridge, but in /s/ there is no vibration in the vocal cords, and with /z/ there is voicing, or vibration.

You can’t use the two letters interchangeably, because the two sounds are not the same.

Hi Skrej…

Thank you for your kindness to share your views with others. We haven’t heard about these words in our life before: voiceless lingual aveolar fricative … voiced lingual aveolar fricative.

Appreciating your elaborate answer with much interest in this subject. I was in a dialemma to submit this kind of suggestion from a long time back. Sometimes I have discussed with some of my educated friends and received a positive comment.

Now you are convincing for the fact of voice representation. My objective is to minimize the usage of English alphabets. It does not mean that we have to actually eleminate the letter itself.

Please let us know how can we replace this Z with S.

Why do you think it’s necessary to reduce the number of letters in the English alphabet? It’s already rather small.

There are 42 to 48 phonemes (sounds) in English, depending upon what kind of English you speak. Somehow, we represent those 40+ sounds with only 26 letters.

If anything, we probably need more letters, not less. English is not a true ‘pure’ alphabetic system, which is part of the reason English spelling is so difficult. A true phonemic alphabet has one letter for each sound. English combines two letters (called digraphs) to make some sounds, and even three letters (trigraphs) to indicate others.

Consider the following words:

dose doze

fuss fuzz

buzz buss

spaz spas

If you replace an /z/ with a /s/ then you no longer have 8 words for 8 different meanings. You know have 4 words to describe 8 different meanings! That’s more confusing, not less confusing.

You can’t replace the /z/ with /s/. It’s no different than asking us to replace /b/ with /z/ or /k/ with /m/ or /t/ with /r/…

Just because /z/ and /s/ may look a little bit similar, it doesn’t mean they are the same. /r/ looks a lot like /t/, /q/ looks like /g/,/v/ looks like /u/, and /i/ looks like /l/, and /d/ is the reverse of /b/, yes, but they’re all completely different sounds.


Hello Sahid,

You seem to have problems with the letter Z :smiley: Don’t you like it?
Why not the letter S since the both letters serve the same purpose for you?

You seem to love your beautiful theory and ignore the ugly actualities:

Sahid is from South India, and many speakers of the languages there can’t hear or pronounce the difference between /s/ and /z/, or between /ʃ/ and /ʒ/. Some of the people don’t distinguish between any of those sounds and pronounce them all as [s].

Other Indians can apparently understand them, but when they come to work in an English-speaking country, the native English speakers have enormous difficulty understanding them, and they need accent training. This pronunciation often prevents their career advancement, because their coworkers can’t follow what they are saying in meetings.

Another problem that speakers of some of the South Indian languages have is that they precede the vowels /i/ and /e/ with [y], and the vowels /o/ and /u/ with [w]. This means that instead of saying “owe” they say “woe”, and instead of saying “ale” they say “Yale”.

It’s very hard to understand them.

Hi Jamie (K)
Thank you for your comments.
I understand that English has more than 40 sounds with only 26 letters. Different pronouncing sounds are practiced by people from different countries.

For example in central African countries they speak out the English words with a heavy accent and sometimes they frighten you by making you understand the words with different meanings ( [color=blue]I called him…may be pronounced as.…I kelled him).

As the non-native speakers of English are learning the language through their own mother tongue they can not completely follow the exact sounds of the alphabets. The people Arabic with background can not exactly pronounce the letters T, P, CH etc. and also the people with Tagalog (Filipino) have difficulty in pronouncing the alphabet F.

So in my humble submission, it is not only South Indians doing the false pronouncing of English alphabets.

Sahid, first you need to know that the word “alphabet” doesn’t mean individual letters or sounds, but the entire set of written letters of a given language. For example, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and there are about 60 symbols in the Telugu alphabet.

Secondly, where in my post did I say that South Indians are the ONLY people who speak English with a foreign accent or have trouble with some English sound or other? I never said that.

I teach many Arabs, and they can all pronounce T and CH. Mainly Egyptians, Lebanese and Syrians have trouble with P, but most of them are aware of the problem and even have a special joke to remind themselves. Filipinos don’t have an F sound in their languages, but by the time they arrive in the United States, almost all of them can pronounce it correctly.

Few Arabs and Filipinos come to my country with unintelligible English pronunciation, although some do, and very few Africans are hard to understand. Indians have an especially bad problem, because English is co-official in their country, but their pronunciation training is usually not up to par. This means that by the time they reach a real English-speaking country, they have been practicing their bad pronunciation habits for many years and have trouble adapting to correct speech – and some of them don’t try to adapt at all. Some of them even convince themselves that their pronunciation is “British”, but it’s not! This is one reason why, of all nationalities, Indians have a huge reputation among native English speakers for pronouncing unintelligibly. Only the Chinese and Vietnamese have worse pronunciation, in the opinion of most native English speakers.

You might be interested in this comedy video made by some Gujaratis in the United States about their own pronunciation problems:

First of all, there are 26 LETTERS in the English (Roman) alphabet. Secondly, I take exception to your wanting to eliminate letters to make the language easier for you. If you want to start removing letters, there are better ones to do away with than Z. C represents sounds made by both K and S, and could either be eliminated or used for the SH sound. In that instance, what we now know as CH would be spelled TC, since the CH sound is a combination of T + SH. J could be reserved for the ZH sound as the J as in “jump” is the union of D and ZH and would henceforth be spelled DJUMP. Q is the letter which could be eliminated altogether, as it never stands on its own in English, except in the spelling of Arabic names, e.g.: Qatar, Qadafi, etc. The problem with eliminating Q is that Roman based languages use it, and many phrases are borrowed into English. W is really the OO sound with a slightly more closed mouth, at times. Not all Roman languages have a W, so that could easily be replaced with the single U. X is also the K and S sounds combined, so that could be eliminated, as could the Y, which, whether considered a consonant or a vowel, is truly a vowel, since if you were to listen to a recording of someone saying “yes” played back very slowly, it really is “I-ESS’,” just as “want” is "oo-ant.

So, if you would like, feel free to start a petition to remove C, Q, W, X, and Y from the alphabet. Given the state of the world at the moment, I doubt people will consider this a priority.