When the ancientGreeks adopted the alphabet, they had no use for the glottal stop—the first phoneme of the Phoenician pronunciation of the letter, and the sound that the letterdenoted in Phoenician and other Semitic languages—so they used an adaptation of the sign to represent the vowel /a/, and gave it the similar nameof alpha. In the earliest Greek inscriptions after the Greek Dark Ages, dating to the 8th century BC, the letter rests upon its side, but in the Greek alphabet oflater times it generally resembles the modern capital letter, although many local varieties can be distinguished by the shortening of one leg, or by theangle at which the cross line is set.
The Etruscans brought the Greek alphabet to their civilization in the Italian Peninsula and left the letterunchanged. The Romans later adopted the Etruscan alphabe
most other languages that use the Latin alphabet, "a" denotes an open front unrounded vowel (/a/).In the International Phonetic Alphabet, variants of "a"
"A" is often used to denote something or someone of a better or more prestigious quality orstatus: A-, A or A+, the best grade that can be assigned by teachers for students' schoolwork; A grade for clean restaurants; A-List celebrities, etc. Suchassociations can have a motivating effect as exposure to the letter A has been found to improve performance, when compared with other letters.