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Key People:Walter Abish...(Show more)Related Topics:Greek alphabetIndic composing systemsSouth Semitic alphabetHangulNorth Semitic alphabet...(Show more)

An alphabet is a collection of graphs or characters used to represent the phonemic structure of a language. In most alphabets, the personalities are i ordered it in a definite order or succession (e.g., A, B, C, etc.).


The indigenous alphabet originates from the an initial two letter of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta. It was first used, in that Latin form, alphabetum, through Tertullian during the 2nd–3rd century CE and by St. Jerome. The classical Greeks customarily provided the many of to gramma (“the letter”); the later form alphabētos to be probably embraced under Latin influence.


The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters. All are consonants, though 4 of castle (alef, he, waw, and yod) are also employed come represent long vowels.


The Arabic alphabet most likely originated part time in the 4th century CE, however the earliest known extant Arabic writing is a trilingual inscription—Greek-Syriac-Arabic—dating 512 CE.


The Latin-Turkish alphabet was presented in 1928 and also became basic throughout Turkey in 1930. It consists of 29 letters, the which two vowels (ö and also ü) and three consonants (ç, ĝ, and also ş) are differentiated by diacritical marks. In one distinction, the dot from i is eliminated (ı) to represent a new sound.


alphabet, set of graphs, or characters, offered to stand for the phonemic structure of a language. In most alphabets the personalities are i ordered it in a definite order, or succession (e.g., A, B, C, etc.).

In the usual case, each alphabetic personality represents one of two people a consonant or a vowel rather than a rate or a team of consonants and vowels. As a result, the number of characters forced can be hosted to a family member few. A language that has actually 30 consonant sounds and also five vowels, because that example, needs at many only 35 different letters. In a syllabary, ~ above the various other hand, the same language would require 30 × 5 icons to stand for each possible consonant-vowel syllable (e.g., separate creates for ba, be, bi, bo, bu; da, de, di; and so on) and secondary five icons for the vowels, in order to making a complete of 155 separation, personal, instance characters. Both syllabaries and also alphabets are phonographic symbolizations; the is, they stand for the sound of words rather than systems of meaning.

The indigenous alphabet, from the first two letter of the Greek alphabet—alpha and beta—was very first used, in that Latin form, alphabetum, through Tertullian (2nd–3rd century ce), a Latin ecclesiastical writer and Church Father, and by St. Jerome. The classical Greeks customarily offered the plural of to gramma (“the letter”); the later form alphabētos was probably adopted under Latin influence.

Theories the the beginning of the alphabet

The evolution of the alphabet involved two vital achievements. The an initial was the step taken by a group of Semitic-speaking people, perhaps the Phoenicians, on the eastern shore that the Mediterranean between 1700 and also 1500 bce. This was the invention of a consonantal composing system well-known as phibìc Semitic. The second was the invention, by the Greeks, of characters for representing vowels. This step occurred between 800 and also 700 bce. While some scholars consider the Semitic writing device an unvocalized syllabary and also the Greek system the true alphabet, both room treated here as creates of the alphabet.


Over the centuries, various theories have been advanced to explain the beginning of alphabet writing, and, due to the fact that Classical times, the problem has been a matter of severe study. The Greeks and also Romans thought about five various peoples as the feasible inventors of the alphabet—the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Cretans, and also Hebrews. Among modern theories space some that are not an extremely different indigenous those of ancient days. Every nation situated in or more or much less near the eastern Mediterranean has been singled out for the honour. Egyptian writing, cuneiform, Cretan, hieroglyphic Hittite, the Cypriot syllabary, and other scripts have actually all been dubbed prototypes the the alphabet. The Egyptian theory actually subdivides right into three different theories, follow to whether the Egyptian hieroglyphic, the hieratic, or the demotic manuscript is regarded as the true parental of alphabet writing. Similarly, the idea that picture writing was the precursor the the alphabet may additionally be subdivided into those singling out Sumerian, Babylonian, or Assyrian cuneiform.

Among the various other theories concerning the alphabet room the hypotheses that the alphabet to be taken by the Philistines indigenous Crete to Palestine, that the various ancient scripts the the Mediterranean countries arisen from primitive geometric symbols employed throughout the Mediterranean area from the more quickly times, and that the proto-Sinaitic inscriptions (discovered due to the fact that 1905 in the Sinai Peninsula) stand for a stage of creating intermediate between the Egyptian hieroglyphics and also the north Semitic alphabet. One more hypothesis, the Ugaritic theory, developed after one epoch-making discovery in 1929 (and the year following) in ~ the site of the old Ugarit, ~ above the Syrian coast opposite the many easterly cape that Cyprus. Countless clay tablet computers were found there, records of inestimable value in numerous fields of research study (including epigraphy, philology, and the background of religion). Date from the 15th and 14th centuries bce, they were written in a cuneiform alphabet that 30 letters.

The early on Canaanite theory is based on several undeciphered inscriptions additionally discovered because 1929 at assorted Palestinian sites; the works belong in part to c. 1700 bce and are for this reason the faster preserved files in an alphabet writing.

Despite the dispute in theories, scholars are generally agreed that, for around 200 years before the middle of the second millennium bce, alphabet making remained in the air in the Syro-Palestinian region. That is idle come speculate top top the an interpretation of the various discoveries referred to. The they manifest very closely related initiatives is certain; what the precise relationship among these efforts was, and what their relationship with the north Semitic alphabet was, can not be said with certainty.

It can, however, be ascertained the the duration from 1730 to 1580 bce in Syria, Palestine, and also Egypt, throughout which there was an uprooting that established social and ethnic trends in the productive Crescent, provided conditions favourable come the conception of an alphabetic script, a kind of composing that would certainly be much more accessible to larger teams of people, in comparison to the script of the old claims of Mesopotamia and Egypt, which to be confined mainly to the priestly class. In default of other direct evidence, that is reasonable to suppose that the yes, really prototype the the alphabet was not an extremely different indigenous the composing of the earliest north Semitic inscriptions now extant, i m sorry belong to the last two or 3 centuries that the 2nd millennium bce. The north Semitic alphabet to be so continuous for plenty of centuries that it is difficult to think that there had actually been any material changes in the coming before two to 3 centuries. Moreover, the phibìc Semitic languages, based as they are on a consonantal root (i.e., a mechanism in i beg your pardon the vowels serve mainly to indicate grammatical or similar changes), were clearly suitable because that the production of a consonantal alphabet.

The inventor or inventors of the alphabet were, no doubt, affected by Egyptian writing—perhaps likewise by other scripts. Indeed, it is probable the those who developed the alphabet were acquainted with most of the scripts existing in the eastern Mediterranean lands at the time. That is now generally agreed the the originators belonged to the Northwest Semitic linguistic group, which consists of the old Canaanites, Phoenicians, and Hebrews.

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Originally, graphs were perhaps “motivated” pictorial signs that to be subsequently offered to represent the early sound of the name of the pictured object. The phibìc Semitic alphabet remained almost unaltered for countless centuries. If the signs’ external form (which, it need to be emphasized, had actually no certain significance) is ignored and only their phonetic value, number, and order are considered, the modern Hebrew alphabet might be related to as a continuation of the original alphabet created more than 3,500 year ago. The Hebrew bespeak of the letters appears to it is in the oldest. The earliest evidence that the Hebrew alphabet was learned systematically to be left in the kind of a schoolboy’s scribbling top top the vertical confront of the upper step of a staircase leading approximately the palace at Tel Lakhish, in southern Israel. It contains the scratching the the very first five letters of the early Hebrew alphabet in their typical order, and it belongs to the 8th or 7th century bce.