ASCII Character aLowercase a
The character "a" is the first letter of the Latin and English alphabets in its lowercase form.
The shape of the lowercase "a" in most typefaces consists of a round or oval form, called a 'counter', which is open at the top, and a vertical line, known as a 'stem', on the right that extends both above and below the counter. However, in some typefaces, particularly those classified as 'handwriting' or 'script' fonts, the lowercase "a" may be rendered in a way that is more similar to an uppercase "A" but smaller and typically without the horizontal line in the middle, known as 'single-story' a.
In terms of pronunciation, the lowercase "a" represents the same vowel sound as its uppercase counterpart "A", with its most common sounds being the short "a" as in "apple" and the long "a" as in "ace".
Historically, the lowercase "a", along with other lowercase letters, came into existence after the uppercase letters. The development of lowercase letters is linked to the evolution of writing style from Roman stone carving to the quicker and more efficient writing methods used by scribes, where speed and space were valued. This cursive or minuscule writing eventually led to the development of the lowercase "a" as we know it today.