In many English works printed before the late 19th century, a letter unfamiliar to us today, ſ, is often used in place of the letter S. However, that unfamiliar f-looking letter is actually just an archaic form of the letter S called "long s". In this episode, we explore the origins and decline of this odd orthographical relic. As a coda to our series on lost letters, we also explore the history of the ampersand (&), which up until the late 19th century was often listed as the 27th letter of the alphabet.
Examples from the episode:
1. Us'd, Clos'd
2. Always puffs, offset, satisfaction; never puffſ, offſet, satiſfaction
3. 17th century: mask, disbelief; 18th century maſk, diſbelief
4. Confuſ-ed, diſ-appearance