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Encyclopedia > History of the Alphabet
History of the alphabet

Middle Bronze Age 19th c. BCE
The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to...

Meroitic 3rd c. BCE
Ogham 4th c.
Hangul 1443
Canadian Syllabics 1840
Zhuyin 1913
complete genealogy

The history of the alphabet begins in Ancient Egypt, more than a millennium into the history of writing. The first pure alphabet emerged around 2000 BCE to represent the language of Semitic workers in Egypt (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets), and was derived from the alphabetic principles of the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Most alphabets in the world today either descend directly from this development, for example the Greek and Latin alphabets, or were inspired by its design. [1] The Ugaritic alphabet is a cuneiform abjad, used from around 1300 BC for the Ugaritic language, an extinct Canaanite language discovered in Ugarit, Syria. ... The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is an abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs, which is found in Levantine texts of the Late Bronze Age (from ca. ... The Phoenician alphabet is a continuation of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, by convention taken to begin with a cut-off date of 1050 BCE. It was used by the Phoenicians to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. ... The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet is an offshoot of the Phoenician alphabet used to write the Hebrew language from about the 10th century BCE until it began to fall out of use in the 5th century BCE with the adoption of the Aramaic alphabet as a writing system for Hebrew and... The Samaritan alphabet is a direct descendant of the paleo-Hebrew variety of the Phoenician alphabet, the more commonly known Hebrew alphabet having been adapted from the Aramaic alphabet under the Persian Empire. ... Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great, 3rd century BC. The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... Variation of BrāhmÄ« with dates. ... The Brahmic family is a family of abugidas (writing systems) used in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, descended from the BrāhmÄ« script of Mauryan India. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article or section uses Khmer characters which may be rendered as boxes or other nonsensical symbols. ... Javanese script is the script that Javanese is originally written in (not to be confused with Javascript, which is a programming language). ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... The Nabatean alphabet is a consonantal alphabet (abjad) that was used by the Nabateans in the 2nd century BC. Important inscriptions are found in Petra. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... The Pahlavi script was used broadly in the Sasanid Persian Empire to write down Middle Persian for secular, as well as religious purposes. ... The Avestan alphabet was created in the 3rd century AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ... Rune redirects here. ...   The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed by Philostorgius to Wulfila, used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ... The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced also called azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is actually a family of alphabets, subsets of which are used by certain Slavic languages — Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian—as well as many other languages of the former Soviet Union... Paleohispanic scripts Light green (along the Mediterranean coast) is the Iberian language, dark grey (mainly southern Portugal) is the Tartessian language, dark blue (central Spain) is the Celtiberian language, light blue (mainly northern Portugal) is the Lusitanian language, and dark green (Eastern Pyrenees) is the Aquitanian language. ... The ancient South Arabian alphabet (also known as musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in ca. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Meroitic script is an alphabet of Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) origin used in Kingdom of Meroë. Some scholars, e. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Jamo redirects here. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Zhuyin fuhao (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Tongyong Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chu-yin fu-hao), or Symbols for Annotating Sounds, often abbreviated as Zhuyin, or known as Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) after the first four letters of this Chinese phonemic alphabet (bo po mo fo), is the national phonetic system of the... Nearly all the segmental scripts (alphabets, but see below for more precise terminology) used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... ABCs redirects here, for the Alien Big Cats, see British big cats. ... Khafres Pyramid and the Great Sphinx of Giza, built about 2550 BC during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom,[1] are enduring symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River... Writing systems evolved in the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium BC) out of neolithic proto-writing. ... In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical Shem, Hebrew: שם, translated as name, Arabic: سام) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to... It has been suggested that Hieroglyph (French Wiki article) be merged into this article or section. ... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ...

Contents

Pre-alphabetic scripts

Two scripts are well attested from before the end of the fourth millennium BCE: Mesopotamian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Both were well known in the part of the Middle East that produced the first widely used alphabet, the Phoenician. There are signs that cuneiform was developing alphabetic properties in some of the languages it was adapted for, as was seen again later in the Old Persian cuneiform script, but it now appears these developments were a sideline and not ancestral to the alphabet. The Byblos syllabary has suggestive graphic similarities to both hieratic Egyptian and to the Phoenician alphabet, but as it is undeciphered, little can be said about its role, if any, in the history of the alphabet. Cuneiform redirects here. ... A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. ... The Phoenician alphabet is a continuation of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, by convention taken to begin with a cut-off date of 1050 BCE. It was used by the Phoenicians to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. ... Old Persian cuneiform is the primary script used in Old Persian writings. ... The Byblos syllabary is known from nine inscriptions found in Byblos, conventionally dated to betwenn the 18th and 15th centuries BC. The script is a syllabary of modified Egyptian hieroglyphs. ... Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Champollion. ...


The Beginnings in Egypt

By 2700 BCE the ancient Egyptians had developed a set of some 22 hieroglyphs to represent the individual consonants of their language, plus a 23rd that seems to have represented word-initial or word-final vowels. These glyphs were used as pronunciation guides for logograms, to write grammatical inflections, and, later, to transcribe loan words and foreign names. However, although alphabetic in nature, the system was not used for purely alphabetic writing. That is, while capable of being used as an alphabet, it was in fact always used with a strong logographic component, presumably due to strong cultural attachment to the complex Egyptian script. The first purely alphabetic script is thought to have been developed around 2000 BCE for Semitic workers in central Egypt. Over the next five centuries it spread north, and all subsequent alphabets around the world have either descended from it, or been inspired by one of its descendants, with the possible exception of the Meroitic alphabet, a 3rd century BCE adaptation of hieroglyphs in Nubia to the south of Egypt - though even here many scholars suspect the influence of that first alphabet.[citation needed] Map of Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was the civilization of the Nile Valley between about 3000 BC and the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. As a civilization based on irrigation it is the quintessential example of an hydraulic empire. ... It has been suggested that Hieroglyph (French Wiki article) be merged into this article or section. ... In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical Shem, Hebrew: שם, translated as name, Arabic: سام) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. ... The Meroitic script is an alphabet of Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) origin used in Kingdom of Meroë. Some scholars, e. ... Nubia (not to be confused with Nuba, a collective term used for the peoples who inhabit the Nuba Mountains, in Kordofan province, Sudan, Africa) is the region in the south of Egypt, along the Nile and in northern Sudan. ...


The Semitic alphabet

Chart showing details of four alphabets' descent from Phoenician abjad, from left to right Latin, Greek, original Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic.
Chart showing details of four alphabets' descent from Phoenician abjad, from left to right Latin, Greek, original Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic.

The Middle Bronze Age scripts of Egypt have yet to be deciphered. However, they appear to be at least partially, and perhaps completely, alphabetic. The oldest examples are found as graffiti from central Egypt and date to around 1800 BC [1]/[2]. [2] These inscriptions, according to Gordon J. Hamilton, help to show that the most likely place for the alphabet’s invention was in Egypt proper. [3] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (371x1112, 49 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): History of the alphabet ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (371x1112, 49 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): History of the alphabet ... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... The Middle Bronze Age alphabets are two similar but undeciphered scripts, dated to be from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), and believed to be ancestral to nearly all modern alphabets: the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to... The Graffito (archaeology), {plural Graffiti), have been created by humans, since Homo sapiens have been traversing this planet. ...


This Semitic script did not restrict itself to the existing Egyptian consonantal signs, but incorporated a number of other Egyptian hieroglyphs, for a total of perhaps thirty, and used Semitic names for them.[4] So, for example, the hieroglyph per ("house" in Egyptian) became bayt ("house" in Semitic).[5] It is unclear at this point whether these glyphs, when used to write the Semitic language, were purely alphabetic in nature, representing only the first consonant of their names according to the acrophonic principle, or whether they could also represent sequences of consonants or even words as their hieroglyphic ancestors had. For example, the "house" glyph may have stood only for b (b as in beyt "house"), or it may have stood for both the consonant b and the sequence byt, as it had stood for both p and the sequence pr in Egyptian. However, by the time the script was inherited by the Canaanites, it was purely alphabetic, and the hieroglyph originally representing "house" stood only for b.[6] Per is the hieroglyph for house, the floor-plan of a walled building with an open doorway. ... In an acrophonic alphabet the initial (Greek: acro) sound (phonos) of a word gives the name to the whole. ... // [[Image:]] Map of Canaan For other uses, see Canaan (disambiguation). ...


The first Canaanite state to make extensive use of the alphabet was Phoenicia, and so later stages of the Canaanite script are called Phoenician. Phoenicia was a maritime state at the center of a vast trade network, and soon the Phoenician alphabet spread throughout the Mediterranean. [3] Two variants of the Phoenician alphabet would have major impacts on the history of writing: the Aramaic alphabet and the Greek alphabet. [4] Phoenicia (or Phenicia ,[1] from Biblical Phenice [1]) was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon and Syria. ... The Phoenician alphabet is a continuation of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, by convention taken to begin with a cut-off date of 1050 BCE. It was used by the Phoenicians to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. ... Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great, 3rd century BC. The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... The Greek alphabet (Greek: ) is an alphabet consisting of 24 letters that has been used to write the Greek language since the late 8th or early 8th century BC. It was the first alphabet in the narrow sense, that is, a writing system using a separate symbol for each vowel...


Descendants of the Aramaic abjad

See also: Genealogy of scripts derived from Proto-Sinaitic

The Phoenician and Aramaic alphabets, like their Egyptian prototype, represented only consonants, a system called an abjad. The Aramaic alphabet, which evolved from the Phoenician in the 7th century BCE as the official script of the Persian Empire, appears to be the ancestor of nearly all the modern alphabets of Asia:[citation needed] Nearly all the segmental scripts (alphabets, but see below for more precise terminology) used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... The first five letters of the Phoenician abjad, from right to left An abjad, sometimes also called a consonantary or consonantal alphabet, is a type of writing system in which there is one symbol per consonantal phoneme. ... Persia redirects here. ...

Western ← Phoenician → Brahmic → Korean
Latin Greek Gujarati Devanagari Tibetan
A Α Aleph
B В Beth ㅂ, ㅁ
C, G Г Gimel ㄱ, (ㆁ)
D Δ Daleth ધ (ઢ) ध (ढ) -
E Ε He (ㅱ)
F, V Ϝ, Υ Waw
Z Ζ Zayin દ (ડ) द (ड) ད (ཌ) ㄷ, ㄴ
H Η Heth -
- Θ Teth થ (ઠ) थ (ठ) ཐ (ཋ)
I, J Ι Yodh
K Κ Kaph
L Λ Lamedh
M Μ Mem
N Ν Nun
- Ξ Samek
O Ο Ayin  ?
P Π Pe પ, ફ प, फ པ, ཕ
- Ϡ Sade ㅈ, ㅅ
Q Ϙ Qoph
R Ρ Res
S Σ Sin
T Τ Taw ત (ટ) त (ट) ཏ (ཊ)

Table: The spread of the alphabet west (Greek, Latin) and east (Brahmic, Korean). Note that the exact correspondence between Phoenician (through Aramaic) to Brahmic is uncertain, especially for the sibilants and the letters in parentheses. The transmission of the alphabet from Tibetan (through Phagspa) to Hangul is also controversial. Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Samaritan alphabet is a direct descendant of the paleo-Hebrew variety of the Phoenician alphabet, the more commonly known Hebrew alphabet having been adapted from the Aramaic alphabet under the Persian Empire. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... Petra, the Nabataean capital The Nabataeans, a people of ancient Arabia, whose settlements in the time of Josephus gave the name of Nabatene to the border-land between Syria and Arabia from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... The Pahlavi script was used broadly in the Sasanid Persian Empire to write down Middle Persian for secular, as well as religious purposes. ... The Sogdian alphabet is derived from Syriac, the descendant script of Aramaic alphabet. ... Orkhon tablet Inscription in Kyzyl using Orkhon script Orkhon script The Orkhon script (also spelled Orhon script, also Orkhon-Yenisey script, Old Turkic script, Göktürk script, Turkish: Orhon Yazıtları) is the alphabet used by the Göktürk from the 8th century to record the Old Turkic... The Uyghur alphabet is any of the following: A descendant of the Sogdian alphabet, used for texts of Buddhist, Manichæan and Christian contents for 700–800 years in East Turkestan. ... Manchu and Chinese writing in the Forbidden City The word “Manju” (Manchu) written in Manchu script. ... The fifth century example of the Asomtavruli script from Bolnisi Sioni Church The Georgian alphabet is the script currently used to write the Georgian language and other Kartvelian languages (such as Mingrelian), and occasionally other languages of the Caucasus (such as Ossetic in the 1940s). ... The Brahmic family is a family of abugidas (writing systems) used in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, descended from the BrāhmÄ« script of Mauryan India. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ... This article is about historical/cultural Tibet. ... Indochina 1886 Indochina, or the Indochinese Peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. ... World map depicting Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago is a vast archipelago located between mainland Southeastern Asia (Indochina) and Australia. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages)[1] is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Egyptian hieroglyphs, which have their origins as logograms. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Jamo redirects here. ... This article is about the Korean civilization. ... // Ledyards Theory on the Creation of Hangul Gari Ledyard, Sejong Professor of Korean History Emeritus at Columbia University, believes that the derivation in the Hunmin Jeong-eum is a mnemonic, or a rationalization invented after the fact, and that hangul actually derives, at least in part, from the Mongol... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The word Wiki in Phagspa characters The Phagspa script (also square script) was an Abugida designed by the Lama Phagspa for the emperor Kublai Khan during the Yuan Dynasty in China, as a unified script for all languages within the Mongolian Empire. ... Capital Dadu Language(s) Mongolian Chinese Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1260-1294 Kublai Khan  - 1333-1370 (Cont. ... In linguistics, distinctive features are the elements which distinguish one phoneme or allophone from one another. ... Phoenician Aleph. ... Phoenician Beth. ... Phoenician Gimel. ... Phoenician Daleth. ... Phoenician He. ... Phoenician Waw. ... Phoenician Zayin. ... Phoenician Heth. ... Phoenician Teth. ... Phoenician Yodh. ... Phoenician Kaph. ... Phoenician Lamedh. ... Phoenician Mem. ... Phoenician Nun. ... Phoenician Samekh. ... Phoenician Ayin. ... Phoenician Pe. ... Image File history File links Phoenician_sade. ... Phoenician Qoph. ... Phoenician Res. ... Phoenician Sin. ... Phoenician Taw. ... A sibilant is a type of fricative, made by speeding up air through a narrow channel and directing it over the sharp edge of the teeth. ...


Transmission of the Alphabet to Greece

See also: History of the Greek alphabet

By at least the 8th century BCE the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language.[10] The letters of the Greek alphabet are the same as those of the Phoenician alphabet, and both alphabets are arranged in the same order. [11] However, whereas separate letters for vowels would have actually hindered the legibility of Egyptian, Phoenician, or Hebrew, their absence was problematic for Greek, where vowels played a much more important role. The Greeks adapted those Phoenician letters for consonants they couldn't pronounce to write vowels. All of the names of the letters of the Phoenician alphabet started with consonants, and these consonants were what the letters represented, something called the acrophonic principle. However, several Phoenician consonants were rather soft and unpronounceable by the Greeks, and thus several letter names came to be pronounced with initial vowels. Since the start of the name of a letter was expected to be the sound of the letter, in Greek these letters now stood for vowels.[citation needed] For example, the Greeks had no glottal stop or h, so the Phoenician letters ’alep and he became Greek alpha and e (later renamed e psilon), and stood for the vowels /a/ and /e/ rather than the consonants /ʔ/ and /h/. As this fortunate development only provided for five or six (depending on dialect) of the twelve Greek vowels, the Greeks eventually created digraphs and other modifications, such as ei, ou, and o (which became omega), or in some cases simply ignored the deficiency, as in long a, i, u. [12] The History of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letterforms and continues to the present day. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... In an acrophonic alphabet the initial (Greek: acro) sound (phonos) of a word gives the name to the whole. ... Alpha (uppercase Α, lowercase α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Epsilon (upper case Ε, lower case ε) is the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Omega (Ω ω) (literally, big O) is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. ...


Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. One, known as Western Greek or Chalcidian, was west of Athens and in southern Italy. The other variation, known as Eastern Greek, was used in present-day Turkey, and the Athenians, and eventually the rest of the world that spoke Greek, adopted this variation. After first writing right to left, the Greeks eventually chose to write from left to right, unlike the Phoenicians who wrote from right to left. [5] The inscription of Nestors Cup, found in Ischia; Cumae alphabet, 8th century BC A Western (also Chalcidean) variant of the early Greek alphabet was in use in ca. ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... The History of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letterforms and continues to the present day. ...


Descendants of the Greek Alphabet

Greek is in turn the source for all the modern scripts of Europe. The alphabet of the early western Greek dialects, where the letter eta remained an h, gave rise to the Old Italic and Roman alphabets. In the eastern Greek dialects, which did not have an /h/, eta stood for a vowel, and remains a vowel in modern Greek and all other alphabets derived from the eastern variants: Glagolitic, Cyrillic, Armenian, Gothic (which used both Greek and Roman letters), and perhaps Georgian.[13] [14] Look up Η, η in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced also called azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is actually a family of alphabets, subsets of which are used by certain Slavic languages — Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian—as well as many other languages of the former Soviet Union...   The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed by Philostorgius to Wulfila, used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ...


Although this description presents the evolution of scripts in a linear fashion, this is a simplification. For example, the Manchu alphabet, descended from the abjads of West Asia, was also influenced by Korean hangul, which was either independent (the traditional view) or derived from the abugidas of South Asia. Georgian apparently derives from the Aramaic family, but was strongly influenced in its conception by Greek. The Greek alphabet, itself ultimately a derivative of hieroglyphs through that first Semitic alphabet, later adopted an additional half dozen demotic hieroglyphs when it was used to write Coptic Egyptian. Then there is Cree Syllabics (an abugida), which appears to be a fusion of Devanagari and Pitman shorthand; the latter may be an independent invention, but likely has its ultimate origins in cursive Latin script.[citation needed] Look up Demotic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Coptic alphabet is an alphabet used for writing the Coptic language. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... An inscription of Swampy Cree using Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, an abugida developed by Christian missionaries for Aboriginal Canadian languages An abugida, alphasyllabary, or syllabics is a writing system in which consonant signs (graphemes) are inherently associated with a following vowel. ... Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century) Devanāgarī (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991) [1] is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. ... Pitman Shorthand is a system of shorthand for the English language developed by Sir Isaac Pitman (1813–1897), who first presented it in 1837. ...


Development of the Roman Alphabet

A tribe known as the Latins, who became known as the Romans, also lived in the Italian peninsula like the Western Greeks. From the Etruscans, a tribe living in the first millennium BC in central Italy, and the Western Greeks, the Latins adopted writing in about the fifth century. In adopted writing from these two groups, the Latins dropped four characters from the Western Greek alphabet. They also adapted the Etruscan letter F, pronounced 'w,' giving it the 'f' sound, and the Etruscan S, which had three zigzag lines, was curved to make the modern S. To represent the G sound in Greek and the K sound in Etruscan, the Gamma was used. These changes produced the modern alphabet without the letters G, J, U, W, Y, and Z, as well as some other differences. [6] The Latins were an ancient Italic people who migrated to central Italy, (Latium Vetus - Old Latium), in the 2nd millennium B.C., maybe from the Adriatic East Coast and Balkanic Area, perhaps from pressures by Illyrian peoples. ... Extent of Etruscan civilization and the twelve Etruscan League cities. ... The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of successive empires. ... Look up F, f in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up S, s in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see G (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see K (disambiguation). ... Gamma (uppercase Γ, lowercase γ) is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see G (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see J (disambiguation). ... For other uses of U, see U (disambiguation). ... Look up W, w in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Z, z in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


C, K, and Q in the Romans’ alphabet could all be used to write the k sound, and C could also be used to write the sound 'g.' The Romans invented the letter G and inserted it into the alphabet between F and H for an unknown reason. Over the few centuries after Alexander the Great conquered the Eastern Mediterranean and other areas in the third century BC, the Romans began to borrow Greek words, so they had to adapt their alphabet again in order to write these words. From the Eastern Greek alphabet, they borrowed Y and Z, which were added to the end of the alphabet because the only time they were used was to write Greek words. [7] Look up C, c in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see K (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Latin alphabet letter. ... Look up C, c in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up F, f in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up H, h in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, epoch, or historical period. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up Z, z in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The Anglo-Saxons began using Roman letters to write Old English as they converted to Christianity, following Augustine of Canterbury's mission to Britain in the sixth century. Because the Runic wen, which was first used to represent the sound 'w' and looked like a p that is narrow and triangular, was easy to confuse with an actual p, the 'w' sound began to be written using a double u. Because the u at the time looked like a v, the double u looked like two v's, W was placed in the alphabet by V. U developed when people began to use the rounded U when they meant the vowel u and the pointed V when the meant the consonant V. J began as a variation of I, in which a long tail was added to the final I when there were several in a row. People began to use the J for the consonant and the I for the vowel by the fifteenth century, and it was fully accepted in the mid-seventeenth century. [8] For other uses, see Anglo-Saxon. ... Old English redirects here. ... Augustine of Canterbury (birth unknown, died May 26, 604) was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, sent to Ethelbert of Kent, Bretwalda (ruler) of England by Pope Gregory the Great in 597. ... Rune redirects here. ... Look up W, w in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up V, v in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses of U, see U (disambiguation). ... For other uses of U, see U (disambiguation). ... Look up V, v in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up V, v in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see J (disambiguation). ... Look up I, i in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up I, i in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see J (disambiguation). ... Look up I, i in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Letter Names and Sequence of Some Alphabets

The order of the letters of the alphabet is attested from the fourteenth century BCE, in a place called Ugarit located on Syria’s northern coast. [15] Tablets found there bear over one thousand cuneiform signs, but these signs are not Babylonian, and there are only thirty distinct characters. About twelve of the tablets have the signs set out in alphabetic order. There are two orders found, one which is nearly identical to the order used for Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and a second order very similar to that used for Ethiopian. [16] Excavated ruins at Ras Shamra. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ...


It is not known how many letters the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet had, nor what their alphabetic order was. Among its descendants, the Ugaritic alphabet had 27 consonants, the South Arabian alphabets had 29, and the Phoenician alphabet was reduced to 22. These scripts were arranged in two orders, an ABGDE order in Phoenician, and an HMĦLQ order in the south; Ugaritic preserved both orders. Both sequences proved remarkably stable among the descendants of these scripts. The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is the linear (, non-Cuneiform) abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs. ... The Ugaritic alphabet is a cuneiform version of the Levantine consonant alphabet (abjad), used from around 1300 BC for the Ugaritic language, an extinct Canaanite language discovered in Ugarit, Syria. ... The ancient South Arabian alphabet (also known as musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in ca. ... The Phoenician alphabet is a continuation of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, by convention taken to begin with a cut-off date of 1050 BCE. It was used by the Phoenicians to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. ...


The letter names proved stable among many descendants of Phoenician, including Samaritan, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew, and Greek alphabet. However, they were abandoned in Arabic and Latin. The letter sequence continued more or less intact into Latin, Armenian, Gothic, and Cyrillic, but was abandoned in Brahmi, Runic, and Arabic, although a traditional abjadi order remains or was re-introduced as an alternative in the latter.[citation needed] The Samaritan alphabet is a direct descendant of the paleo-Hebrew variety of the Phoenician alphabet, the more commonly known Hebrew alphabet having been adapted from the Aramaic alphabet under the Persian Empire. ... Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great, 3rd century BC. The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Greek alphabet (Greek: ) is an alphabet consisting of 24 letters that has been used to write the Greek language since the late 8th or early 8th century BC. It was the first alphabet in the narrow sense, that is, a writing system using a separate symbol for each vowel... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz redirects here. ...   The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed by Philostorgius to Wulfila, used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced also called azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is actually a family of alphabets, subsets of which are used by certain Slavic languages — Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian—as well as many other languages of the former Soviet Union... BrāhmÄ« refers to the pre-modern members of the Brahmic family of scripts, attested from the 3rd century BC. The best known and earliest dated inscriptions in Brahmi are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka. ... Rune redirects here. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Abjad numerals. ...


The table is a schematic of the Phoenician alphabet and its descendants.

nr. Proto-Canaanite IPA value Ugaritic Phoenician Hebrew Arabic other descendants
1 ʼalp "ox" /ʔ/ 1 𐎀 ʼalpa Aleph ʼālep א Α A А
2 bet "house" /b/ 2 𐎁 beta Beth bēt ב Β B В-Б ᛒ
3 gaml "throwstick" /g/ 3 𐎂 gamla Gimel gīmel ג Γ C-G Г ᚲ
4 dalet "door" / digg "fish" /d/ 4 𐎄 delta Daleth dālet ד Δ D Д
5 haw "window" / hll "jubilation" /h/ 5 𐎅 ho He ה هـ Ε E Е-Є
6 wāw "hook" /β/ 6 𐎆 wo Waw wāw ו و ϜF-V-Y У ᚢ
7 zen "weapon" / ziqq "manacle" /z/ 7 𐎇 zeta Zayin zayin ז ز Ζ Z З
8 ḥet "thread" / "fence"? /ħ/ / /x/ 8 𐎈 ḥota Heth ḥēt ח ح Η H И ᚺ
9 ṭēt "wheel" /tˁ/ 9 𐎉 ṭet Teth ṭēt ט ط Θ Ѳ
10 yad "arm" /j/ 10 𐎊 yod Yodh yōd י ي Ι I
11 kap "hand" /k/ 20 𐎋 kap Kaph kap כ ك Κ K К
12 lamd "goad" /l/ 30 𐎍 lamda Lamedh lāmed ל ل Λ L Л ᛚ
13 mem "water" /m/ 40 𐎎 mem Mem mēm מ م Μ M М
14 naḥš "snake" / nun "fish" /n/ 50 𐎐 nun Nun nun נ ن Ν N Н
15 samek "support" / "fish" ? /s/ 60 𐎒 samka Samek sāmek ס - Ξ
16 ʻen "eye" /ʕ/ 70 𐎓 ʻain Ayin ʻayin ע ع Ο O О
17 pu "mouth" / piʼt "corner" /p/ 80 𐎔 pu Pe פ ف Π P П
18 ṣad "plant" /sˁ/ 90 𐎕 ṣade Sade ṣādē צ ص Ϡ
19 qup "cord"? /kˁ/ 100 𐎖 qopa Qoph qōph ק ق Ϙ Q Ҁ
20 raʼs "head" /r/ / /ɾ/ 200 𐎗 raša Res rēš ר ر Ρ R Р ᚱ
21 šin "tooth" / šimš "sun" /ʃ/ 300 𐎌 šin Sin šin ש س Σ S Ш ᛊ
22 taw "mark" /t/ 400 𐎚 to Taw tāw ת ت Τ T Т ᛏ

These 22 consonants account for the phonology of Northwest Semitic. Of the reconstructed Proto-Semitic consonants, seven are missing: the interdental fricatives ḏ, ṯ, ṱ, the voiceless lateral fricatives ś, ṣ́, the voiced uvular fricative ġ, and the distinction between uvular and pharyngeal voiceless fricatives ḫ, ḥ, in Canaanite merged in ḥet. The six variant letters added in the Arabic alphabet account for these (except for ś, which survives as a separate phoneme in Ge'ez ): > ḏāl; > ṯāʼ; > ḍād; ġ > ġayn; ṣ́ > ẓāʼ; > ḫāʼ (but note that this reconstruction of 29 Proto-Semitic consonants is heavily informed by Arabic; see Proto-Semitic for details).[citation needed] Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... is the reconstructed name of the first letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew , ‎, and Arabic ‎. Aleph originally represented the glottal stop (IPA ), usually transliterated as , a symbol based on the Greek spiritus lenis , for example in the transliteration of the letter... Phoenician Aleph. ... is the reconstructed name of the first letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew Aleph , and Arabic . Aleph originally represented the glottal stop (IPA ), usually transliterated as , a symbol based on the Greek spiritus lenis , for example in the transliteration of the... Alpha (uppercase Α, lowercase α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses of A, see A (disambiguation). ... А (А, а) is the first letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... The a-rune , Younger Futhark was probably named after the Æsir, in Proto-Germanic *Ansuz. ...   Beth or Bet is the second letter of many Semetic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... Phoenician Beth. ... Beta (upper case Î’, lower case β) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses of B, see B (disambiguation). ... Ve (Ð’, в) is the third letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the sound [v]. In Russian, it is pronounced [f] at the end of a word. ... Be (Б, б) is the second letter in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Berkanan Berkanan is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the b-rune á›’, meaning birch. In the Younger Futhark it is called bjarken in Icelandic and bjarkan in Norse. ... Gimel is the third letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order; 5th in higai order). ... Phoenician Gimel. ... Gamma (upper case Γ, lower case γ) is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up C, c in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see G (disambiguation). ... Ge or He (Г, г) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, pronounced differently in different languages. ... The k-rune áš² (Younger Futhark áš´, Anglo-Saxon Futhorc áš³) is called Kaun in both the Norwegian and Icelandic rune poems, meaning ulcer. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is Kaunan. ... Dalet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Phoenician Daleth. ... Delta (upper case Δ, lower case δ) is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see D (disambiguation). ... De (Д, д) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... He is the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician , Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic . Its sound value is a voiceless glottal fricative (). The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Epsilon, Etruscan , Latin E and Cyrillic Ye. ... Hallel (Hebrew: הלל Praise [God]) is part of Judaisms prayers, a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays. ... Phoenician He. ... Epsilon (upper case Ε, lower case ε) is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see E (disambiguation). ... Ye, or E (Е, е), is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Ye (Є, Ñ”) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, used in the Ukrainian language to represent the iotated vowel sound /je/. Categories: Cyrillic letters | Writing system stubs ... Waw (, also spelled vav or vau) is the sixth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac , and Arabic (in abjadi order; it is 27th in modern Arabic order). ... Phoenician Waw. ...      This article is about the Greek letter; for the mathematical function, see digamma function. ... Upsilon (upper case , lower case ) is the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up F, f in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up V, v in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... U (У, у) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the vowel /u/. Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... The rune ᚢ representing the sound u is called Ur in all three rune poems, however with different meanings: Norwegian ᚢ er af illu jarne; Dross comes from bad iron; the reindeer often races over the frozen snow. ... Zayin or Zain is the seventh letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... Phoenician Zayin. ... Zeta (upper case Ζ, lower case ζ) is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up Z, z in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ze (З, з) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /z/. Its easily confusable with the number 3, for example the stages of the N1 rocket. ... or (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew (also , heth) , and Arabic (in abjadi order). ... Phoenician Heth. ... For other uses, see Eta. ... Look up H, h in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... I or Y (И, и) is a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet, pronounced in Russian, or in Ukrainian. ... Haglaz Haglaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the h-rune ᚺ, meaning hail (the precipitation). ... (also Teth, Tet) is the ninth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order, 16th in modern order). ... Phoenician Teth. ... Note: A theta probe is a device for measuring soil moisture. ... Fita (Ѳ, ѳ) is a letter of the early Cyrillic alphabet, descended from the Greek Theta. ... The word yad may also refer to the Yad ha-Chazaka, another name for Maimonides Mishneh Torah. ... Phoenician Yodh. ... For programming language, see Iota and Jot Iota (upper case Ι, lower case ι) is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up I, i in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Isaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the i-rune ᛁ, meaning ice. In the Younger Futhark it is called Iss in Icelandic and isa in Norse. ... Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) is a privately funded, non-profit service dedicated to providing the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, dental, complementary healing, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality: BDSM, Fetish, and the Leather Community. ... Phoenician Kaph. ... For other uses, see Kappa. ... For other uses, see K (disambiguation). ... Ka (К, к) is a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /k/. It corresponds to the Roman K in origin, pronunciation, and appearance. ... Lamed or Lamedh is the twelfth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is IPA: . The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Lambda (Λ), Latin L, and Cyrillic El (Л). // [edit] Origins Lamedh is believed to have come from a pictogram of an... Phoenician Lamedh. ... Lambda (upper case Λ, lower case λ) is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see L (disambiguation). ... El (Л, л) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Laguz Laukaz or Laguz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the l-rune ᛚ, meaning water or lake. In the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, it is called lagu ocean. In the Younger Futhark it is called lögr waterfall in Icelandic and logr water in Norse. ... Mem is the thirteenth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... Phoenician Mem. ... Mu (upper case Îœ, lower case μ) is the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see M (disambiguation). ... Em (Ðœ, м) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /m/. Code positions Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... Nun is the fourteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Phoenician Nun. ... For other uses, see Nu. ... Look up N, n in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... En (Н, н) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /n/. It looks exactly like the Latin capital letter H. Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, representing . ... Phoenician Samekh. ... Xi (upper case Ξ, lower case ξ) is the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... or Ayin is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ‎ and Arabic ‎ (in abjadi order). ... Phoenician Ayin. ... Omicron (upper case Ο, lower case ο, literally small o) is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up O, o in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... O (О, о) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the vowel /o/. Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... Pe is the seventeenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Phoenician Pe. ... Lower-case pi The mathematical constant Ï€ is a real number which may be defined as the ratio of a circles circumference (Greek περιφέρεια, periphery) to its diameter in Euclidean geometry, and which is in common use in mathematics, physics, and engineering. ... This article is about the Latin alphabet letter. ... Pe (П, п) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /p/. It arose directly from the Greek letter Pi (Π, Ï€). The shape of capital printed Pe can be described as a square with the bottom line missing, not to be confused with El (Cyrillic), which has a curved left. ... ... Image File history File links Phoenician_sade. ... Sampi (Upper case , lower case ) is an obsolete letter of the Greek alphabet and has a numeric value of 900. ... Qoph or Qop is the nineteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Phoenician Qoph. ... Qoppa is an obsolete letter of the Greek alphabet and has a numeric value of 90. ... This article is about the Latin alphabet letter. ... The letter koppa in the Early Cyrillic alphabet Koppa or Stigma (Ò€, ҁ) is an archaic letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, originally derived from the Greek letter Qoppa. ... Resh is the twentieth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ‎ and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually IPA: or but also or in Hebrew. ... Phoenician Res. ... 1. ... Look up R, r in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Er (Р, Ñ€) is the eighteenth letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Raidô ride, journey is the suggested Proto-Germanic name of the r-rune of the Elder Futhark áš±. The name is attested for the same rune in all three rune poems, Norwegian Ræið Icelandic Reið, Anglo-Saxon Rad, as well as for the corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet 𐍂 r... Shin (also spelled Sin or Sheen) is the twenty-first letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ‎ and Arabic ‎ (in abjadi order, 12th in modern order). ... Shamash or Sama, was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu. ... Phoenician Sin. ... For other uses, see Sigma (disambiguation). ... Look up S, s in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Sha (Ш, ш) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant sound /ʃ/ or /ʃʲ/. It is equivalent to sh in English, ch in French, sch in German, ÅŸ in Turkish, or sz in Polish. ... The Trundholm sun chariot pulled by a horse is believed to be a sculpture illustrating an important part of Nordic Bronze Age mythology. ... Taw or Tav is the twenty-second and last letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its original value is an voiceless alveolar plosive, IPA , The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Tau (Τ), Latin T, and the equivalent in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Phoenician Taw. ... Tau (upper case Τ, lower case Ï„) is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... For other uses, see T (disambiguation). ... Te (Т, Ñ‚) is the letter representing the consonant /t/ in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Týr, depicted here with both hands intact, is identified with Mars in this illustration from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript. ... The Northwest Semitic languages form a medium-level division of the Semitic language family. ... Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ... or (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew (also , heth) , and Arabic (in abjadi order). ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Åšawt is a letter of the Geez abugida, descended from Epigraphic South Arabian , but representing Å› like ESA . It is reconstructed as descended from a Proto-Semitic voiceless lateral fricative . It survived only in South Semitic as an independent phoneme. ... () is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents the voiced dental fricative (IPA ). In name and shape, it is a variant of . ... () is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents the voiceless dental fricative (IPA ). In name and shape, it is a variant of . ... () is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents a pharyngealized voiced alveolar plosive (IPA ). In name and shape, it is a variant of . ... () is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents the voiced velar fricative (IPA ). In name and shape, it is a variant of . ... ( ) is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents a pharyngealized voiced dental fricative or voiced alveolar fricative (IPA: or ). In name and shape, it is a variant of . ... () is one of the six letters the Arabic alphabet added to the twenty-two inherited from the Phoenician alphabet (the others being , , , , ). It represents the voiceless velar fricative (IPA ). In name and shape, it is a variant of (see also there). ... Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ...


Graphically independent alphabets

The only modern national alphabet that has not been graphically traced back to the Canaanite alphabet is the Maldivian script, which is unique in that, although it is clearly modeled after Arabic and perhaps other existing alphabets, it derives its letter forms from numerals. The Osmanya alphabet devised for Somali in the 1920s was co-official in Somalia with the Latin alphabet until 1972, and the forms of its consonants appear to be complete innovations. Arabic can mean: From or related to Arabia From or related to the Arabs The Arabic language; see also Arabic grammar The Arabic alphabet, used for expressing the languages of Arabic, Persian, Malay ( Jawi), Kurdish, Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, among others. ...   The Osmanya alphabet is a script for the Somali language invented between 1920 and 1922 by the Sultan of Obbias brother, Cismaan Yuusuf Keenadiid. ... The 1920s is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ...


Among alphabets that are not used as national scripts today, a few are clearly independent in their letter forms. The Zhuyin phonetic alphabet derives from Chinese characters. The Santali alphabet of eastern India appears to be based on traditional symbols such as "danger" and "meeting place", as well as pictographs invented by its creator. (The names of the Santali letters are related to the sound they represent through the acrophonic principle, as in the original alphabet, but it is the final consonant or vowel of the name that the letter represents: le "swelling" represents e, while en "thresh grain" represents n.) Zhuyin fuhao (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Tongyong Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Chu-yin fu-hao), or Symbols for Annotating Sounds, often abbreviated as Zhuyin, or known as Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) after the first four letters of this Chinese phonemic alphabet (bo po mo fo), is the national phonetic system of the... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ: Hán tá»±: A Chinese character or Han character (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... The Santali alphabet, also known as Ol Cemet (language of writing), Ol Ciki, Ol Chiki, or Ol, was created in 1925 by Pandit Raghunath Murmu for the Santali language. ...


In the ancient world, Ogham consisted of tally marks, and the monumental inscriptions of the Old Persian Empire were written in an essentially alphabetic cuneiform script whose letter forms seem to have been created for the occasion. However, while all of these systems may have been graphically independent of the other alphabets of the world, they were devised from their example.[citation needed] Note: This article contains special characters. ... See Aryan Language or Old Persian For more information visit: *[Ancient Iranian Languages & Literature The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) ...


Alphabets in other media

Changes to a new writing medium sometimes caused a break in graphical form, or make the relationship difficult to trace. It is not immediately obvious that the cuneiform Ugaritic alphabet derives from a prototypical Semitic abjad, for example, although this appears to be the case. And while manual alphabets are a direct continuation of the local written alphabet (both the British two-handed and the French/American one-handed alphabets retain the forms of the Latin alphabet, as the Indian manual alphabet does Devanagari, and the Korean does Hangul), Braille, semaphore, maritime signal flags, and the Morse codes are essentially arbitrary geometric forms. The shapes of the English Braille and semaphore letters, for example, are derived from the alphabetic order of the Latin alphabet, but not from the graphic forms of the letters themselves. Modern shorthand also appears to be graphically unrelated. If it derives from the Latin alphabet, the connection has been lost to history.[citation needed] The Ugaritic alphabet is a cuneiform version of the Levantine consonant alphabet (abjad), used from around 1300 BC for the Ugaritic language, an extinct Canaanite language discovered in Ugarit, Syria. ... Fingerspelling (somtimes known as dactylology) is the representation of the letters of a writing system, and sometimes numeral systems, using only the hands. ... Several manual alphabets in use around the world employ two hands for some or all of the letters. ... The American Sign Language Alphabet is a manual alphabet that augments the vocabulary of American Sign Language when spelling individual letters of a word is the preferred or only option, such as with proper names or the titles of works. ... For the Native American sign language, see Plains Indian Sign Language. ... Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century) Devanāgarī (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991) [1] is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. ... Braille code where the word (, French for first) can be read. ... A Chappe semaphore tower near Saverne, France // The semaphore or optical telegraph is an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, with towers with pivoting blades or paddles, shutters, in a matrix, or hand-held flags etc. ... The system of international maritime signal flags is a way of representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships. ... 1922 Chart of the Morse Code Letters and Numerals Morse code is a method for transmitting telegraphic information, using standardized sequences of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation and special characters of a message. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Shorthand is an abbreviated, symbolic writing method that improves speed of writing or brevity as compared to a normal method of writing a language. ...


References

  1. ^ Himelfarb, Elizabeth J. "First Alphabet Found in Egypt", Archaeology 53, Issue 1 (Jan./Feb. 2000): 21.
  2. ^ Himelfarb, Elizabeth J. "First Alphabet Found in Egypt", Archaeology 53, Issue 1 (Jan./Feb. 2000): 21.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Gordon J. "W. F. Albright and Early Alphabetic Writing", Near Eastern Archaeology 65, No. 1 (Mar., 2002): 35-42. page 39-49.
  4. ^ Hooker, J. T., C. B. F. Walker, W. V. Davies, John Chadwick, John F. Healey, B. F. Cook, and Larissa Bonfante, (1990). Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet. Berkeley: University of California Press. pages 211-213.
  5. ^ McCarter, P. Kyle. “The Early Diffusion of the Alphabet.” The Biblical Archaeologist 37, No. 3 (Sep., 1974): 54-68. page 57.
  6. ^ Hooker, J. T., C. B. F. Walker, W. V. Davies, John Chadwick, John F. Healey, B. F. Cook, and Larissa Bonfante, (1990). Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet, Berkeley: University of California Press. page 212.
  7. ^ Hooker, J. T., C. B. F. Walker, W. V. Davies, John Chadwick, John F. Healey, B. F. Cook, and Larissa Bonfante, (1990). Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet, Berkeley: University of California Press. page 222.
  8. ^ Robinson, Andrew, (1995). The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs & Pictograms, New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd. page 172.
  9. ^ Ledyard, Gari K. The Korean Language Reform of 1446. Seoul: Shingu munhwasa, 1998.
  10. ^ McCarter, P. Kyle. "The Early Diffusion of the Alphabet", The Biblical Archaeologist 37, No. 3 (Sep., 1974): 54-68. page 62.
  11. ^ McCarter, P. Kyle. "The Early Diffusion of the Alphabet", The Biblical Archaeologist 37, No. 3 (Sep., 1974): 54-68. page 62.
  12. ^ Robinson, Andrew, (1995). The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs & Pictograms, New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd. page 170.
  13. ^ Robinson, Andrew. The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs & Pictograms. New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1995.
  14. ^ BBC. "The Development of the Western Alphabet." [updated 8 April 2004; cited 1 May 2007]. Available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2451890.
  15. ^ Robinson, Andrew, (1995). The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs & Pictograms, New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd. page 162.
  16. ^ Millard, A.R. "The Infancy of the Alphabet", World Archaeology 17, No. 3, Early Writing Systems (Feb., 1986): 390-398. page 395.

External links

See also

The Northwest Semitic abjad
ʾ b g d h w z y k l m n s ʿ p q r š t
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 200 300 400
historyPhoenicianAramaic • Hebrew • SyriacArabic

Nearly all the segmental scripts (alphabets, but see below for more precise terminology) used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... Writing systems evolved in the Early Bronze Age (late 4th millennium BC) out of neolithic proto-writing. ... This is a chronological list of any individuals, legendary or real, who are purported by traditions to have invented alphabets or other writing systems, whether this is proven or not. ... This is a list of languages by first written accounts which consists of the approximate dates for the first written accounts that are known for various languages. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... If certain characters in this article display badly (as empty squares, question marks, etc), see Unicode. ... The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is an abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs, which is found in Levantine texts of the Late Bronze Age (from ca. ... is the reconstructed name of the first letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew , , and Arabic . Aleph originally represented the glottal stop (IPA ), usually transliterated as , a symbol based on the Greek spiritus lenis , for example in the transliteration of the letter...   Beth or Bet is the second letter of many Semetic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... Gimel is the third letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order; 5th in higai order). ...   Dalet or Daleth is the fourth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... He is the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician , Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic . Its sound value is a voiceless glottal fricative (). The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Epsilon, Etruscan , Latin E and Cyrillic Ye. ...   Vav or waw is the sixth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic in abjadi order; it is the twenty-seventh in modern Arabic order. ... Zayin or Zain is the seventh letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... or (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician , Syriac , Hebrew (also , heth) , and Arabic (in abjadi order). ... (also Teth, Tet) is the ninth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order, 16th in modern order). ... Yodh (also spelled Yud or Yod) is the tenth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic (in abjadi order, 28th in modern order). ... Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) is a privately funded, non-profit service dedicated to providing the community with referrals to psychotherapeutic, medical, dental, complementary healing, and legal professionals who are knowledgeable about and sensitive to diverse expressions of sexuality: BDSM, Fetish, and the Leather Community. ... Lamed or Lamedh is the twelfth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is IPA: . The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Lambda (Λ), Latin L, and Cyrillic El (Л). // [edit] Origins Lamedh is believed to have come from a pictogram of an... Mem is the thirteenth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... Nun is the fourteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, representing . ... or Ayin is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic (in abjadi order). ... Pe is the seventeenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... ... Qoph or Qop is the nineteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet (in abjadi order). ... Resh is the twentieth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually IPA: or but also or in Hebrew. ... Shin (also spelled Sin or Sheen) is the twenty-first letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic (in abjadi order, 12th in modern order). ... Taw or Tav is the twenty-second and last letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its original value is an voiceless alveolar plosive, IPA , The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Tau (Τ), Latin T, and the equivalent in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... The Phoenician alphabet is a continuation of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, by convention taken to begin with a cut-off date of 1050 BCE. It was used by the Phoenicians to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language. ... Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great, 3rd century BC. The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ...

Further reading

  • Peter T. Daniels, William Bright (eds.), 1996. The World's Writing Systems, ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
  • David Diringer, History of the Alphabet, 1977, ISBN 0-905418-12-3.
  • Stephen R. Fischer, A History of Writing 2005 Reaktion Books CN 136481
  • Joel M. Hoffman, In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language, 2004, ISBN 0-8147-3654-8.
  • Robert K. Logan, The Alphabet Effect: The Impact of the Phonetic Alphabet on the Development of Western Civilization, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986.
  • Joseph Naveh, Early History of the Alphabet: an Introduction to West Semitic Epigraphy and Palaeography (Magnes Press - Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1982)
  • B.L. Ullman, "The Origin and Development of the Alphabet," American Journal of Archaeology 31, No. 3 (Jul., 1927): 311-328.

  Results from FactBites:
 
History of the alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1799 words)
The Aramaic alphabet, which evolved from the Phoenician in the 7th century BC as the official script of the Persian Empire, appears to be the ancestor of nearly all the modern alphabets of Asia:
The Osmanya alphabet devised for Somali in the 1920s was co-official in Somalia with the Latin alphabet until 1972, and the forms of its consonants appear to be complete innovations.
And while manual alphabets are a direct continuation of the local written alphabet (both the British two-handed and the French/American one-handed alphabets retain the forms of the Latin alphabet, as the Indian manual alphabet does Devanagari, and the Korean does Hangul), Braille, semaphore, maritime signal flags, and the Morse codes are essentially arbitrary geometric forms.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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