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A. This letter of ours corresponds to the first symbol in
the Phoenician alphabet and in almost all its descendants. In
Phoenician, a, like the symbols for e and for o, did not
represent a vowel, but a breathing; the vowels originally were
not represented by any symbol. When the alphabet was adopted by
the Greeks it was not very well fitted to represent the sounds
of their language. The breathings which were not required in
Greek were accordingly employed to represent some of the vowel
sounds, other vowels, like i and u, being represented by
an adaptation of the symbols for the semi-vowels y and w.
The Phoenician name, which must have corresponded closely to
the Hebrew Aleph, was taken over by the Greeks in the form
Alpha (alpsa). The earliest authority for this, as for the
names of the other Greek letters, is the grammatical drama
(grammatike Ieoria) of Callias, an earlier contemporary of
Euripides, from whose works four trimeters, containing the names
of all the Greek letters, are preserved in Athenaeus x. 453 d.
The form of the letter has varied considerably. In the
earliest of the Phoenician, Aramaic and Greek inscriptions
(the oldest Phoenician dating about 1000 B.C., the oldest
Aramaic from the 8th, and the oldest Greek from the 8th
or 7th century B.C.) A rests upon its side thus--@. In
the Greek alphabet of later times it generally resembles
the modern capital letter, but many local varieties can be
distinguished by the shortening of one leg, or by the angle
at which the cross line is set-- @, &c. From the Greeks of
the west the alphabet was borrowed by the Romans and from them
has passed to the other nations of western Europe. In the
earliest Latin inscriptions, such as the inscription found
in the excavation of the Roman Forum in 1899, or that on a
golden fibula found at Praeneste in 1886 (see ALPHABET).
Fine letters are still identical in form with those of the
western Greeks. Latin develops early various forms, which
are comparatively rare in Greek, as @, or unknown, as
@. Except possibly Faliscan, the other dialects of Italy
did not borrow their alphabet directly from the western Greeks
as the Romans did, but received it at second hand through the
Etruscans. In Oscan, where the writing of early inscriptions
is no less careful than in Latin, the A takes the form
@, to which the nearest parallels are found in north Greece
(Boeotia, Locris and Thessaly, and there only sporadically) .
In Greek the symbol was used for both the long and the short
sound, as in English father (a) and German Ratte
a; English, except in dialects, has no sound corresponding
precisely to the Greek short a, which, so far as can be
ascertained, was a mid-back-wide sound, according to the
terminology of H. Sweet (Primer of Phonetics, p. 107).
Throughout the history of Greek the short sound remained practically
unchanged. On the other hand, the long sound of a in the
Attic and Ionic dialects passed into an open e-sound, which
in the Ionic alphabet was represented by the same symbol as
the original e-sound (see ALPHABET: Greek). The vowel
sounds vary from language to language, and the a symbol has,
in consequence, to represent in many cases sounds which are
not identical with the Greek a whether long or short, and
also to represent several different vowel sounds in the same
language. Thus the New English Dictionary distinguishes about
twelve separate vowel sounds, which are represented by a in
English. In general it may be said that the chief changes
which affect the a-sound in different languages arise from
(1) rounding, (2) fronting, i.e. changing from a sound
produced far back in the mouth to a sound produced farther
forward. The rounding is often produced by combination with
rounded consonants (as in English was, wall, &c.), the
rounding of the preceding consonant being continued into
the formation of the vowel sound. Rounding has also been
produced by a following l-sound, as in the English fall,
small, bald, &c. (see Sweet's History of English Sounds,
2nd ed., sec. sec. 906, 784). The effect of fronting is seen in
the Ionic and Attic dialects of Greek, where the original
name of the Medes, Madoi, with a in the first syllable
(which survives in Cyprian Greek as Madoi), is changed
into Medoi (Medoi), with an open e-sound instead
of the earlier a. In the later history of Greek this
sound is steadily narrowed till it becomes identical with
i (as in English seed). The first part of the process
has been almost repeated by literary English, a (ah)
passing into e (eh), though in present-day pronunciation
the sound has developed further into a diphthongal ei
except before r, as in hare (Sweet, op. cit. sec. 783).
In English a represents unaccented forms of several
words, e.g. an (one), of, have, he, and or various
prefixes the history of which is given in detail in the New
English Dictionary (Oxford, 1888), vol. i. p. 4. (P. GI.)
As a symbol the letter is used in various connexions
and for various technical purposes, e.g. for a note in
music, for the first of the seven dominical letters (this
use is derived from its being the first of the litterae
nundinales at Rome), and generally as a sign of priority.
In Logic, the letter A is used as a symbol for the universal
affirmative proposition in the general form ``all x is y.''
The letters I, E and O are used respectively for the particular
affirmative ``some x is y,'' the universal negative ``no x
is y,'' and the particular negative ``some x is not y.''
The use of these letters is generally derived from the vowels
of the two Latin verbs AffIrmo (or AIo), ``I assert,'' and
nEgO, ``I deny.'' The use of the symbols dates from the 13th
century, though some authorities trace their origin to the Greek
logicians. A is also used largely in abbreviations (q.v.).
In Shipping, A1 is a symbol used to dennote quality of
construction and material. In the various shipping registers
ships are classed and given a rating after an official
examination, and assigned a classification mark, which
appears in addition to other particulars in those registers
after the name of the ship. See SHIPBUILDING. It is
popularly used to indicate the highest degree of excellence.
AA, the name of a large number of small European rivers.
The word is derived from the Old German aha, cognate to
the Latin aqua, water (cf. Ger.-ach; Scand. a, aa,
pronounced o). The following are the more important
streams of this name:--Two rivers in the west of Russia, both
falling into the Gulf of Riga, near Riga, which is situated
between them; a river in the north of France, falling into
the sea below Gravelines, and navigable as far as St Omer;
and a river of Switzerland, in the cantons of Lucerne and
Aargau, which carries the waters of Lakes Baldegger and
Hallwiler into the Aar. In Germany there are the Westphalian
Aa, rising in the Teutoburger Wald, and joining the Werre at
Herford, the Munster Aa, a tributary of the Ems, and others.
AAGESEN, ANDREW (1826-1879), Danish jurist, was educated
for the law at Kristianshavn and Copenhagen, and interrupted
his studies in 1848 to take part in the first Schleswig war,
in which he served as the leader of a reserve battalion. In
1855 he became professor of jurisprudence at the university of
Copenhagen. In 1870 he was appointed a member of the commission
for drawing up a maritime and commercial code, and the navigation
law of 1882 is mainly his work. In 1879 he was elected a member
of the Landsthing; but it is as a teacher at the university
that he won his reputation. Among his numerous juridical
works may be mentioned: Bidrag til Laeren om Overdragelse
af Ejendomsret, Bemaerkinger om Rettigheder over Ting
(Copenhagen, 1866, 1871-1872); Fortegnelse over Retssamlinger,
Retslitteratur i Danmark, Norge, Sverige (Copenhagen,
1876). Aagesen was Hall's successor as lecturer on Roman law
at the university, and in this department his researches were
epoch-making. All his pupils were profoundly impressed by
his exhaustive examination of the sources, his energetic
demonstration of his subject and his stringent search after
truth. His noble, imposing, and yet most amiable personality
won for him, moreover, universal affection and respect.
See C. F. Bricka, Dansk. Brog. Lex. vol. i. (Copenhagen, 1887); Szmlade
Skrifter, edited by F. C. Bornemann (Copenhagen, 1863). (R. N. B.)
AAL, also known as A'L, ACH, or AICH, the Hindustani
names for the Morinda tinctoria and Morinda citrifalia,
plants extensively cultivated in India on account of the
reddish dye-stuff which their roots contain. The name
is also applied to the dye, but the common trade name
is Suranji. Its properties are due to the presence
of a glucoside known as Morindin, which is compounded
from glucose and probably a trioxy-methyl-anthraquinone.
AALBORG, a city and seaport of Denmark, the seat of a bishop,
and chief town of the amt (county) of its name, on the south
bank of the Limfjord, which connects the North Sea and the
Cattegat. Pop. (1901) 31,457. The situation is typical of
the north of Jutland. To the west the Linifjord broadens