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Encyclopedia > Semitic alphabets
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History of the Alphabet

Middle Bronze Age 19–15th c. BC
Two similar but undeciphered scripts believed to be ancestral to all modern alphabets are attested from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BCE): the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to 1500 BCE, and the Wadi el-Ħôl (or Wadi...

Meroitic 3rd c. BC
Complete genealogy

The history of the alphabet starts in ancient Egypt. By 2700 BCE the 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. 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. Drawing of the 16 and 12 characters Wadi el-Hol inscriptions The Proto-Canaanite (also Proto-Sinaitic) alphabet is identified as the prototype of the Semitic alphabets that, mostly via the successful Phoenician alphabet became the ancestor of most scripts in use today. ... 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 Phoenician alphabet dates from around 1400 BC and is related to the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ... 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 Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... BrāhmÄ« refers to the pre-modern members of the Brahmic family of scripts. ... This article is mainly about Hebrew letters. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... The Avestan alphabet was created in the 3rd century AD for writing the hymns of Zarathustra (a. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing in the Arabic language. ... For the typeface, see italic type. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... The Coptic alphabet is an alphabet used for writing the Coptic language. ... Representation of the Gothic alphabet surrounding its inventor Ulfilas The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed to Wulfila used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ... Tablet inscribed with the Glagolitic alphabet The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa is the oldest known Slavonic alphabet. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used to write six natural Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... photograph of Botorrita 1 (both sides), 1st century BC. The Iberian scripts (or Iberian alphabet) are two scripts (or two styles of the same script) found on the Iberian peninsula, the Northeast and South Iberian script. ... The Celtiberian script was used to write the Celtiberian language, an extinct Continental Celtic language. ... The ancient South Arabian alphabet (also known as musnad) branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in ca. ... The Geez language (or Giiz language) is an ancient language that developed in the Ethiopian Highlands of the Horn of Africa as the language of the peasantry. ... The Meroitic script is an alphabet of Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) origin used in Kingdom of Meroë. Some scholars, e. ... Nearly all the segmental scripts used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... Ancient Egypt was a civilization located along the Lower Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north to as far south as Jebel Barkal at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). ... (Redirected from 2700 BC) (28th century BC - 27th century BC - 26th century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2900 - 2334 BC -- Mesopotamian wars of the Early Dynastic period 2775 - 2650 BC -- Second Dynasty wars in Egypt Germination of the Bristlecone pine tree Methuselah... Hieroglyphs on an Egyptian funerary stela Hieroglyphs at the Memphis museum with Ramses II statue on the back. ... 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. ... In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by an open configuration of the vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure above the glottis. ... A Chinese logogram A logogram, or logograph, is a single written character which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... (Redirected from 2000 BC) (21st century BC - 20th century BC - 19th century BC - other centuries) (3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC) Events 2064 - 1986 BC -- Twin Dynasty wars in Egypt 2000 BC -- Farmers and herders travel south from Ethiopia and settle in Kenya. ... Semitic is a linguistic term referring to a subdivision of largely Middle Eastern Afro-Asiatic languages, the Semitic languages, as well as their speakers corresponding cultures, and ethnicities. ... The Meroitic script is an alphabet of Egyptian (Hieroglyphic) origin used in Kingdom of Meroë. Some scholars, e. ... // Events The first two Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome over dominance in western Mediterranean Rome conquers Spain Gaulish migration to Macedonia, Thrace and Galatia 281 BCE Antiochus I Soter, on the assassination of his father Seleucus becomes emperor of the Seleucid empire. ... Today Nubia is the region in the south of Egypt, along the Nile and in northern Sudan, but in ancient times it was an independent kingdom. ...

Contents


The Semitic alphabet

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 BCE [1]/[2]. 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. So, for example, the hieroglyph per ("house" in Egyptian) became bayt ("house" in Semitic). 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. Two similar but undeciphered scripts believed to be ancestral to all modern alphabets are attested from the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1500 BCE): the Proto-Sinaitic script discovered in the winter of 1904-1905 by William Flinders Petrie, and dated to 1500 BCE, and the Wadi el-Ħôl (or Wadi... For other uses, see Graffiti (disambiguation). ... (Redirected from 1800 BC) (19th century BC - 18th century BC - 17th century BC - other centuries) (3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC) Events 1787 - 1784 BC -- Amorite conquests of Uruk and Isin 1786 BC -- Egypt: End of Twelfth Dynasty, start of Thirteenth Dynasty, start of Fourteenth Dynasty 1766... In an acrophonic alphabet the initial (Greek: acro) sound (phonos) of a word gives the name to the whole. ... Canaanite can describe anything pertaining to Canaan: in particular, its languages and inhabitants. ...


Descendants of the Semitic abjad

Enlarge
Chart showing details of four alphabets' descent from Phoenician abjad
see also: Genealogy of scripts derived from Proto-Sinaitic.

This Proto-Canaanite alphabet, like its Egyptian prototype, only represented consonants, a system called an abjad. From it can be traced nearly all the alphabets ever used, most of which descend from the younger Phoenician version of the script. Nearly all the segmental scripts used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... The Proto-Canaanite alphabet is the linear (, non-Cuneiform) abjad of twenty-plus acrophonic glyphs. ... An abjad is a type of writing system where there is one symbol per consonantal phoneme, sometimes also called a consonantary. ... The Phoenician alphabet dates from around 1400 BC and is related to the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ...


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: The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... (8th century BC - 7th century BC - 6th century BC - other centuries) (700s BC - 690s BC - 680s BC - 670s BC - 660s BC - 650s BC - 640s BC - 630s BC - 620s BC - 610s BC - 600s BC - other decades) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Scythians arrived in Asia Collapse... The term Persian Empire refers to a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. ...

The Hangul alphabet was invented in Korea in the 15th century CE. Tradition holds that it was an autonomous invention; however, recent research suggests that it may be based on half a dozen letters derived from Tibetan via the imperial Phagspa alphabet of the Yuan dynasty of China. Uniquely among the world's alphabets, the rest of the letters are derived from this core as a featural system. This article is mainly about Hebrew letters. ... 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 in the Arabic language. ... 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. ... // Overview Events 212: Constitutio Antoniniana grants citizenship to all free Roman men 212-216: Baths of Caracalla 230-232: Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east 235-284: Crisis of the Third Century shakes Roman Empire 250-538: Kofun era, the first... 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 script The Orkhon script is the earliest known Turkic alphabet. ... 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 Manchu Alphabet was used for recording the Manchu language. ... The Georgian alphabet is the script currently used to write the Georgian language and occasionally other languages of the Caucasus. ... The Brahmic family is a family of abugidas used in South Asia, Tibet and Southeast Asia. ... Tibet (older spelling Thibet; Tibetan: བོད་, Bod, pronounced pö in Lhasa dialect; Chinese: 西藏, pinyin: XÄ«zàng or 藏区 ZàngqÅ« [the two names are used with different connotations; see Name section below]) is a region in Central Asia and the home of the Tibetan people. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Hinduism (Sanskrit/Hindi: ; also known as Sanatana Dharma - , and Vaidika Dharma - ) is a worldwide religious tradition that is based on the Vedas, and is generally regarded as the oldest major religion still practiced in the world today. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... A Chinese logogram A logogram, or logograph, is a single written character which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Hangul is the native alphabet used to write the Korean language, as opposed to the hanja system borrowed from China. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... // 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... Om Mani Padme Hum, the primary mantra of Tibetan Buddhism written in the Tibetan script, on a rock outside the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. ... The Mongolian language historically has four writing systems that have been used over the centuries. ... The Yuan Dynasty (Mongolian: Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus; Chinese: 元朝 or 大元帝國) lasting officially from 1271 to 1368, also called the Mongol Dynasty, was the name given to the significant ruling family of Borjigin in Asia. ... This article needs to be wikified. ...


Besides Aramaic, the Phoenician alphabet gave rise to the Berber and Greek alphabets. Whereas separate letters for vowels would have actually hindered the legibility of Egyptian, Berber, or Semitic, their absence was problematic for Greek, which had a very different morphological structure. However, there was a simple solution. All of the names of the letters of the Phoenician alphabet started with consonants, and these consonants were what the letters represented. However, several of them were rather soft and unpronounceable by the Greeks, and thus several letter names came to be pronounced with initial vowels. By the acrophonic principle that was the basis of the system, the letters now stood for those vowels. 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 six 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. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Morphology is a subdiscipline of linguistics that studies word structure. ... In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by an open configuration of the vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure above the glottis. ... 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. ... Digraph has several meanings: Directed graph, or digraph Digraph (orthography) Digraph (computing) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Omega (Ω ω) (literally, big O) is the 24th and last letter 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. For other uses, see Eta. ... For the typeface, see italic type. ... ... Tablet inscribed with the Glagolitic alphabet The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa is the oldest known Slavonic alphabet. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used to write six natural Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... Representation of the Gothic alphabet surrounding its inventor Ulfilas The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed 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. Demotic (disambiguation) The term Demotic can refer to: The Demotic Greek dialect of the Greek language. ... The Coptic alphabet is an alphabet used for writing the Coptic language. ... Canadian aboriginal syllabic writing (often syllabics for short) is a family of writing schemes which are used to write a number of aboriginal Canadian languages from the Algonquian, Athabaskan and Inuit language families. ... An abugida or alphasyllabary is a writing system composed of signs (graphemes) denoting consonants with an inherent following vowel, which are consistently modified to indicate other vowels (or, in some cases, the lack of a 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. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Letter names and sequence

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 descendents 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 dates from around 1400 BC and is related to the Proto-Canaanite alphabet. ...


The letter names proved stable among many descendents 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. 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 Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... 11th century book in Syriac Serto. ... This article is mainly about Hebrew letters. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing in the Arabic language. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... Representation of the Gothic alphabet surrounding its inventor Ulfilas The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed to Wulfila used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ... The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used to write six natural Slavic languages (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ... Brāhmī 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. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... 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 descendents.

nr. Proto-Canaanite IPA value Ugaritic Phoenician Hebrew Arabic other descendants
1 ʾalp "ox" [ʔ] 1 𐎀 ʾalpa Aleph ʾālep א Α A А ᚨ
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 ʿen "eye" [ʕ] 70 𐎓 ʿain Ayin ʿayin ע ع Ο O О
17 pu "mouth" / piʾt "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 raʾs "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). IPA may refer to: The International Phonetic Alphabet or India Pale Ale ... The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. ... Phoenician Aleph. ... Alif ﺍ is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. ... Alpha (uppercase Α, lowercase α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Look up A and a in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... А (А, а) is the first letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ...   Beth or Bet is the second letter of many Semetic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... The voiced bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Beth. ... Beta (upper case Î’, lower case β) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. ... The letter B is the second letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... 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. ... The voiced velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Gimel. ... Gamma (upper case Γ, lower case γ) is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. ... C# redirects here. ... G is the seventh letter in the Roman alphabet. ... 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. ... The voiced alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Daleth. ... Delta (upper case Δ, lower case δ) is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... The letter D is the fourth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... De (Д, д) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. ... He is the fifth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... Hallel (Hebrew: הלל Praise [God]) is part of Judaisms prayers, a verbatim derivation from Psalms 113-118, which is used for praise and thanksgiving that is recited by observant Jews on Jewish holidays. ... The voiceless glottal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician He. ... Epsilon (upper case Ε, lower case ε) is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... The letter E is the fifth letter in the Latin alphabet. ... 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). ... The voiced bilabial fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... 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. ... Are you looking for the article on the F Sharp programming language? You may have made your way to this page due to technical limitations in Wikipedia. ... V is the twenty-second letter in the modern Latin alphabet. ... Y is the twenty-fifth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... 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. ... The voiced alveolar fricatives are a type of consonantal sound. ... Phoenician Zayin. ... Zeta (upper case Ζ, lower case ζ) is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Z is the twenty-sixth and last letter of the English alphabet. ... 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. ... The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Heth. ... For other uses, see Eta. ... H is the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... I or Y (И, и) is a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet, pronounced in Russian, or in Ukrainian. ... Emphatic consonant is a somewhat imprecise term commonly used in Semitic linguistics to describe pharyngealized or velarized, and ejective consonants, or consonants that historically had one of these properties. ... 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. ... A yad (Hebrew: יד), literally, hand, is a Jewish ritual pointer, used to point to the text when reading from the parchment Torah scrolls. ... The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in very many spoken languages. ... Phoenician Yodh. ... For programming language, see Iota and Jot Iota (upper case Ι, lower case ι) is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. ... Due to MediaWikis uppercase algorithm, ı (lower case dotless i) will bring you here. ... 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. ... The voiceless velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. ... Phoenician Kaph. ... For other uses, see Kappa. ... The eleventh letter of the Latin alphabet, K, or k comes from the Greek Κ or κ (Kappa) developed from the Semitic Kap, symbol for an open hand. ... 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. ... The alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Lamedh. ... Lambda (upper case Λ, lower case λ) is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... L is the twelfth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... 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. ... The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Mem. ... Mu (upper case Îœ, lower case μ) is the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... M is the thirteenth letter of the latin alphabet. ... Em (Ðœ, м) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the consonant /m/. Code positions Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Nun. ... For other uses, see Nu. ... N is the fourteenth letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... 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 . ... The voiceless alveolar fricatives are a type of consonantal sound. ... Phoenician Samekh. ... Xi (upper case Ξ, lower case ξ) is the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... The voiced pharyngeal approximant/fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Ayin. ... Omicron (upper case Ο, lower case ο, literally small o) is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... O is the fifteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... O (О, о) is a letter of the Cyrillic alphabet, representing the vowel /o/. Categories: Cyrillic letters | Language stubs ... This is about the Hebrew letter: for the Cyrillic letter, see Pe (Cyrillic). ... The voiceless bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. ... 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. ... P is the sixteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... 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. ... Emphatic consonant is a somewhat imprecise term commonly used in Semitic linguistics to describe pharyngealized or velarized, and ejective consonants, or consonants that historically had one of these properties. ... Phoenician Sade. ... Sampi (Upper case , lower case ) is an obsolete letter of the Greek alphabet and has a numeric value of 900. ... Emphatic consonant is a somewhat imprecise term commonly used in Semitic linguistics to describe pharyngealized or velarized, and ejective consonants, or consonants that historically had one of these properties. ... Phoenician Qoph. ... Qoppa is an obsolete letter of the Greek alphabet and has a numeric value of 90. ... Q is the seventeenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... 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. ... The alveolar trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages (such as Russian, Spanish, Armenian, and Polish). ... The alveolar tap or flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Res. ... 1. ... R is the eighteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... 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... Shamash or Sama, was the common Akkadian name of the sun-god in Babylonia and Assyria, corresponding to Sumerian Utu. ... The voiceless postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Phoenician Sin. ... Sigma (upper case Σ, lower case σ, lowercase in word-final position Ï‚) is the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... S is the nineteenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet. ... 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 22nd letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... The voiceless alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. ... Phoenician Taw. ... Tau (upper case Τ, lower case Ï„) is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. ... T is the twentieth letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... Te (Т, Ñ‚) is the letter representing the consonant /t/ in the Cyrillic alphabet. ... Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing in the Arabic language. ... The Geez language (or Giiz language) is an ancient language that developed in the Ethiopian Highlands of the Horn of Africa as the language of the peasantry. ... () 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 or 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. ... An Arabic-based script for the Somali language, now replaced both officially and in practise by the Latin alphabet. ... The 1920s were a decade sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ...


Among alphabets that aren't 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.) Zhùyīn Fúhào (注音符號), 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 Republic of China for teaching the Chinese languages, especially Standard... 漢字 hànzì, hanja, kanji… in Traditional Chinese and other languages. ... 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. Ogham (Old Irish Ogam) was an alphabet used primarily to represent Gaelic languages. ... 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. 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. ... A manual alphabet is a system of representing all the letters of an alphabet, using only the hands. ... BSL is also an abbreviation for Breed-specific legislation. ... 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. ... ... 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. ... PREMIER - first The braille system, named after Louis Braille, is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write. ... A Chappe semaphore tower near Saverne, France The semaphore line, or optical telegraph was a signalling system invented by the Chappe brothers in France. ... 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 information, using standardized sequences of short and long marks or pulses — commonly known as dots and dashes — for the letters, numerals and special characters of a message. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Shorthand is a term referring to any abbreviated or symbolic writing method that improves speed of writing or brevity as compared to a standard method of writing the language. ...


See also

Nearly all the segmental scripts used around the globe were apparently derived from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. ... Writing systems evolved in the 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. ...

Further reading

  • David Diringer, History of the Alphabet, 1977, ISBN 0905418123.
  • Peter T. Daniels, William Bright (eds.), 1996. The World's Writing Systems, ISBN 0195079930.
  • Joel M. Hoffman, In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language, 2004, ISBN 0814736548.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2648 words)
The word "alphabet" itself is popularly believed to come from alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, but some etymologists argue that instead the word derives from aleph and bet, the first two letters of the Phoenician alphabet (an abjad) which later gave rise to the Hebrew alphabet.
The term "alphabet" is used by linguists and paleographers in a wider and a narrower sense.
The earliest known alphabet in the wider sense is the Wadi el-Hol script, believed to be an abjad, which through its successor Phoenician became the ancestor of or inspiration for all later alphabets; the first alphabet in the narrower sense was the Greek alphabet.
Semitic Languages - ninemsn Encarta (682 words)
Semitic Languages, one of the seven subfamilies or branches of the Afro-Asiatic or Hamito-Semitic language family.
Of the Semitic languages, Arabic was carried beyond its original home in the Arab Peninsula throughout the Arab Empire and is spoken across North Africa to the Atlantic coast, and Arabic and Hebrew are used by Muslims and Jews in other parts of the world.
The other Semitic languages are centred in a region bounded on the west by Ethiopia and on the north by Syria and extending south-east through Iraq and the Arab Peninsula, with some “islands” of Semitic speech farther east in Iran.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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