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Special Collections - June 2021

1868 – Deseret First Book and Second Book

Pioneers came from many countries and spoke many languages. To get everyone on the same page they invented a phonetic alphabet called the Deseret Alphabet.

•To help overcome language barriers among the many immigrants to Utah, President Young appointed George D. Watt and others to devise the new Deseret alphabet.
•The letters C, D, L, O, P, S, and W of the Roman alphabet were retained, but most of them were given new sounds, and thirty-one characters were added.
•Beginning February 16, 1859, and for some time after that, the front page of the weekly Deseret News was nearly covered with articles written in the Deseret alphabet.
BYU-I Special Collections - June 2021