It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

The Alphabet of the Phoenicians

page: 1

log in


posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 02:54 PM
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
b -
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
u -
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.

Wikipedia Entries:
Phoenician Alphabet
Theban Alphabet
edit on 22-2-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by darkbake

Thank you for the interesting read. A particularly enjoyed the links to some of the wiki pages.

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 04:57 PM
reply to post by darkbake

blooming interesting stuff and a perspective on the shapes of our alphabet that i had not come across before - i found myself making the sounds and agreeing with some of the descriptions.

SnF well deserved, i'm gonna have to return to this and the various links in a few days when i have some real reading and thinking time - i may well be back, nice work indeed

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 05:36 PM
Never really thought of it that way.

Thank you for sharing that.

Here is a link you maybe interested in.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 07:52 PM
reply to post by kdog1982

Thanks for the link! I think I could be on to something here, because there does seem to be a fair amount of correspondence in not only the English alphabet but others, as well.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 08:07 PM
reply to post by skalla

I'm glad you noticed and found yourself in agreement! It could be a pretty cool discovery, especially for deciphering ancient languages, or who knows what else. I researched the subject on Wikipedia, and it seems no one has brought it up before, as far as I can tell.

But if you think about it, if a society doesn't have letters yet, and is going to use letters to sound out words, wouldn't it make sense?
edit on 23-2-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

new topics

top topics

log in