Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phoenician Characters

-Developed the basis of Latin alphabet.
-Developed around 1600 BC and formed 22 specific symbols that represented SOUNDS not objects.
-Symbols put together in various combinations to make thousands of words.
-Only contained consonants
-No vowels
-Written horizontally.
-Written RIGHT to LEFT
-WithOUT spaces between words (dots were used as word spaces sometimes)
-The building block for Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and modern European alphabet.
-Phoenicians are known for being responsible for the greates invention of humanity.
-Believed to be developed at Byblos.
-Some symbols are recognizable such as "o" "w" "k" and "x"
-Greeks got the names for their letters from the Phoenician's actual words (alpha, beta, gamma to
aleph, beth, gimel)
-The names for the characters were chosen based on: Simplification of earlier pictograms and the sound for the original object the character was representing.
-Phoenician letter shapes are much more abstract and linear compared to other Proto-Sinaitic signs.
-Time Period: 1100 BCE to 300 CE in West Asia
-Genealogy: Proto-Sinaitic

For want of a plausible theory, Dr. Ignace J. Gelb, professor at the Oriental Institute and the Department of Linguistics of the University of Chicago, once suggested that the entire Phoenician system of signs was an arbitrary invention throughout. (Gelb, 1974) Even more recently, the discovery of the Proto-Sinaiti inscriptions in Egypt has been alleged as the sole source.

Taken from this website.
Other Sources: Fundamentals with Type and ancientscripts.com

Phoenicians lived present day Lebanon.
Phoenician Alphabet compared to others.
Phoenician Alphabet (22 symbols aka: 'magic signs')

QUESTION: Name at least three languages that are based on the Phoenician characters.

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