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Latin script

A Specimen by William Caslon.jpg
Time period
~700 BC–present
Parent systems
Child systems
indirectly, the Cherokee syllabary and Yugtun script
Sister systems
Direction Left-to-right
ISO 15924 Latn, 215
Unicode alias
See Latin characters in Unicode

Latin or Roman script is a set of graphic signs (script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, which is derived from a form of the Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet, used by the Etruscans. Latin script is used as the standard method of writing in most Western and Central European languages, as well as in many languages in other parts of the world.

Latin script is the basis for the largest number of alphabets of any writing system and is the most widely adopted writing system in the world (commonly used by about 70% of the world's population). Latin script is also the basis of the International Phonetic Alphabet. The 26 most widespread letters are the letters contained in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

The script is either called Roman script or Latin script, in reference to its origin in ancient Rome. In the context of transliteration, the term "romanization" or "romanisation" is often found.Unicode uses the term "Latin" as does the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The numeral system is called the Roman numeral system; and the collection of the elements, Roman numerals. The numbers 1,2,3 ... are Latin/Roman script numbers for the Hindu–Arabic numeral system.

The Latin alphabet spread, along with Latin, from the Italian Peninsula to the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea with the expansion of the Roman Empire. The eastern half of the Empire, including Greece, Turkey, the Levant, and Egypt, continued to use Greek as a lingua franca, but Latin was widely spoken in the western half, and as the western Romance languages evolved out of Latin, they continued to use and adapt the Latin alphabet.


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