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Project Gutenberg's Encyclopedia, vol. 1 ( A - Andropha

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The Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

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 
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