This is probably a silly question, but I was wondering why the English ever took on the Latin alphabet. Clearly, it is a very poor representation of the language. Let me elaborate: They have spelling bees. That is to say, the writing is more or less arbitrary: you can spell the same word different ways and even pronounce a written word in several ways. Take the word "wind" as an example, where "i" is vocalized in different ways depending on the context. This is not the case in several languages, I dare say. A quick search on Wikipedia revealed that the adoption of the Latin alphabet was due to Christian missionaries. Therefore my real question is that was the preceding alphabet, the Anglo-Saxon runes, a more complete alphabet in the sense described above? If not, what are the essential sounds of speech of English, i.e. how would you design an alphabet for the English language? EDIT: Right after I posted, I noticed that the same discussion had taken place only couple of months ago. I apologize, for I cannot delete this thread.