On 27/04/2013 14:09, Jim Henry wrote:

>> I heard that we use to have the Ampersand in our
>> alphabet, how would that have worked? Consonat, vowel?

Neither - it represented a whole syllable.

> Wikipedia says:
>>> Also, it was common practice to add at the end of
>>> the alphabet the "&" sign as if it were the 27th
>>> letter, pronounced and. As a result, the recitation
>>> of the alphabet would end in "X, Y, Z and per se
>>> and". This last phrase was routinely slurred to
>>> "ampersand" and the term crept into common English
>>> usage by around 1837.


> So yes, it used to be a traditional part of the
> alphabet, though an anomalous one (representing a whole
> word, not a single sound).
> As far as I know it's always represented the word "and"
> in English. It originally was an abbreviation for "et"
> in medieval Latin orthography, and was adopted into
> English

Yep - but it was and still is used also in &c. (et cetera)
where the ampersand denotes the initial 'et'.

It is used in Dutton's Speedwords where, however, it is
always pronounced 'and'. It occurs only in:
& /and/ = "and"
&e /'ande:/ = "also"

"language  began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
for individual beings and events."
[Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]