Video: watch every single /a/ over at Google fonts
A video featuring every single /a/ over at Google Fonts was posted on Twitter and we have to repost it because... history.
Alpha (uppercase Α, lowercase α; Ancient Greek: ἄλφα, álpha, modern pronunciation álfa) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 1.
Alpha was derived from the Phoenician and Hebrew letter aleph and the letters which arose from alpha include the Latin A and the Cyrillic letter А.
In English, the noun "alpha" is used as a synonym for "beginning", or "first" (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots notes Wikipedia.
The letter alpha represents various concepts in physics and chemistry, including alpha radiation, angular acceleration, alpha particles, alpha carbon and strength of electromagnetic interaction (as Fine-structure constant).
Alpha also stands for thermal expansion coefficient of a compound in physical chemistry. It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles. Furthermore, in mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level when proving null and alternative hypotheses. In zoology, it is used to name the dominant individual in a wolf or dog pack. In aerodynamics, the letter is used as a symbol for the angle of attack of an aircraft and the word "alpha" is used as a synonym for this property.
Plutarch, in Moralia, presents a discussion on why the letter alpha stands first in the alphabet.
Ammonius asks Plutarch what he, being a Boeotian, has to say for Cadmus, the Phoenician who reputedly settled in Thebes and introduced the alphabet to Greece, placing alpha first because it is the Phoenician name for ox—which, unlike Hesiod, the Phoenicians considered not the second or third, but the first of all necessities. "Nothing at all," Plutarch replied. He then added that he would rather be assisted by Lamprias, his own grandfather, than by Dionysus' grandfather, i.e. Cadmus. For Lamprias had said that the first articulate sound made is "alpha", because it is very plain and simple—the air coming off the mouth does not require any motion of the tongue—and therefore this is the first sound that children make.
According to Plutarch's natural order of attribution of the vowels to the planets, alpha was connected with the Moon.
Alpha, both as a symbol and term, is used to refer to or describe a variety of things, including the first or most significant occurrence of something. The New Testament has God declaring himself to be the "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13, KJV, and see also 1:8). Because of this symbolism, the characters ⍺ and ⍵ denote the left and right arguments in the APL programming language.
The term "alpha" has been used to denote position in social hierarchy, examples being "alpha males" or pack leaders.