Overlap #atozchallenge


Remember Venn diagrams when you were in school?

Venn diagram showing what letter shapes are common in the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets. By Watchduck (a.k.a. Tilman Piesk) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Venn wrote a paper in 1880 called On the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and Reasonings where he showed how to use these diagrams to demonstrate propositions and relationships. The overlapping areas show where elements of two or more sets are common to both or all of them. For example, we see from the above diagram that the characters O, A, B, E, M, X, K, Y, T, H, and P are common to to the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets. That’s the triangular area where all three sets overlap, and is called the intersection of all three sets. In mathematical terms, if L is the Latin alphabet (upper right circle), G the Greek alphabet (upper left circle), and C is the Cyrillic alphabet (lower circle),

LGC = {O, A, B, E, M, X, K, Y, T, H, P}

There are other overlaps, like the section that has letters in both the Latin and Greek alphabets but not in Cyrillic:

LG \ C = {I, N, Z}

Wikipedia, which regular readers will recall is the blogger’s best friend, has a whole article on Venn diagrams and what they all represent. My only purpose in talking about this is to say that the intersection of two or more sets is where they overlap.

26 thoughts on “Overlap #atozchallenge

      1. As good as I am in math (allegedly), they threw me at first, but I picked them up pretty quickly. The insistence of the nun who was teaching about them on drawing perfect circles probably had something to do with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great Letter O and never even knew about the overlap with these letters so I learned something. It just shows how some old languages can be similar…truly neat


    1. You see the same thing among the Stans (you know, Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan…). The Soviets forced the Cyrillic alphabet on them, but they kept their own language and alphabets, and there are some similarities. Then you have Japan, which borrowed a lot of Chinese words (and pictograms) as well as developing their own. Graphemics is a pretty fascinating subject…


  2. I’ve seen them used for other things but I don’t remember this one. Overlap…good one. I’m afraid I’m getting behind in my letters. I have too much work to do and I don’t want to rush my projects. Next year I’ll have to start earlier or pick a less involved topic 🙂 Still having fun though.
    N is for Stevie Nicks


    1. They’re used all the time in math and logic, and I’ve seen them used in computer science as well. There’s a point at which Math stops being about numbers and they start talking about sets (“for all nonzero real numbers” for example).

      My first couple of years doing A to Z I really went in-depth on a lot of my entries, and they took me a long time to write. I’ve learned to keep things short. Just a suggestion; you’ve done a tremendous job so far, and I can see where it might take a long time to write the entries and gather together the images.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While looking at your three circles, I immediately starting thinking of how the exercise might benefit me in another area. I decided it might be a good way to view the novels in my series to see what I’ve started to repeat in three major areas: basic plot, villain type, climax and/or resolution. Guess I’m going to need bigger circles.


  4. Venn diagrams make my brain freeze up. They are very useful though. I saw what you did with Overlap – you’ve written both your O and your P post. Amazing.


    1. My theme is words that end with the next letter. Monday’s word started with N and ended with O; yesterday’s started with O and ended with P; today’s starts with P and ends with Q etc. 🙂


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