The Alphabet of the Phoenicians
Were the letters we use today written in a time period where the ancients used pictures to represent the sounds, therefore storing vocal culture in
the shapes of the letters?
The English alphabet dates back to the Roman alphabet, which in turn dates back to the Phoenicians, which dates back to the proto-sinaitic script,
which is said to come from hieroglyphs, although I dispute this.
There is a somewhat sketchy theory that says this:
The theory centers on the idea that only the graphic form of the Proto-Sinaitic characters derive from Egyptian hieroglyphs, and that they were
given the sound value of the first consonant of the Semitic translation of the hieroglyph. (Using a character for the first sound of its name is the
acrophonic principle.) For example, the hieroglyph for pr "house" (a rectangle partially open along one side, "O1" in Gardiner's sign list) was
adopted to write Semitic /b/, after the first consonant of baytu, the Semitic word for "house".
Source: Wikipedia, Proto-Sinaitic
It could be that the proto-sinaitic script was actually meant to compete with hieroglyphs in order to make a phonetic alphabet that would be easier to
learn and be usable by the commoners, because the symbols themselves hold knowledge of how to make the sounds with your mouth and throat.
I will give a partial list here:
a - the top part of the mouth vibrates while holding the mouth open, and the bottom part vibrates as well
c - the mouth makes a "c" shape and forces sound out from there
e - the mouth is open and the top part vibrates
h - the air flows out of the mouth while the back of the mouth is tensed up
i - the air flows between the tonsil and the closed bottom part of the mouth
j - same as i, except there is vibration in the back of the throat
k - closing off the back of the throat and making a "c" sound
l -sticking your tongue out, could have originally been "_"
o - the mouth makes an "o" shape for this one
s - like a snake
t - this could represent sticking the tongue out to make a "t" sound
z - Like a snake, but a more vibrational
In addition, check out the Japanese "Hiragana" alphabet and see if this new information helps you learn it faster. It is helping me learn it much
faster than I would have otherwise.
Finally, check out the Theban alphabet for an example of an alphabet that was not meant to help with phonics - its purpose was (and is) coding, and
therefore it would not be in its best interest to be easily sounded out.
This is only a theory, but I have been thinking about it for a while.
edit on 22-2-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)