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The first alphabetEdit

The first known alphabet was found in Egypt - a system that used consonants. It used hieroglyphs, a form of ancient writing used by the Egyptians. Most hieroglyphs were represented using pictures that represent words or characters. The first alphabet was uncovered by archeologists at around 2000 A.D. but the actual alphabet dates back to around 2000 B.C. Although this is said to be the first, the Egyptian alphabet may not have proven useful when vowels were needed. Another alphabet that archeologists say could be the first alphabet was a Semitic one found by the coast of the Mediterranean. Many of the letters in this alphabet were similar to those in the Greek alphabet, containing letters such as alpha and beta. Today, many scientists speculate that many modern alphabets evolved from this one. The Latin alphabet also is said to have evolved from this one, and it is one of the most widely used alphabets today. In addition to the Latin alphabet, the Greek alphabet is said to have evolved from this Semitic one.

Evolution of alphabets over timeEdit

Eventually, the earlier alphabets that only contained consonants evolved. Due to the fact that consonants cannot be pronounced without vowels, vowels were added to the alphabet in order to have correct pronunciation over time. This eventually gave rise to other alphabets such as the Greek and Latin alphabets, which have become the basis for many modern alphabets today. However, the very first alphabet that has said to have given rise to the Latin, Greek and the modern Hebrew alphabet was said to be found near Palestine recently. [1]. It is also is said to have given rise to a Canaanite alphabet that led to the evolution to these Greek, Latin and Hebrew ones. In addition to the primigenial Canaanite alphabet that gave rise to modern alphabets, the Phoenician alphabet played a major role in the evolution of the Greek alphabet. It was used at around 1850 B.C. but was not used by many people until around the twelfth century A.D. [2] . The Greek alphabet was one of the Phoenician alphabet's many decendants. However, this alphabet also only usually used consonants; sometimes characters were added though in order to represent vowels. [3]. The Greek alphabet renovated this one in order to add more vowels. Despite that the Phoenician alphabet did not have many vowels many alphabets still evolved from it.

Examples of the Phoenician, Greek and Latin alphabets are shown below:

[1]

The Phoenician Alphabet [4]

300px-Phoenician alphabet svg

Phoenician Alphabet

The Ancient Greek Alphabet [5]

  • Α α Alpha
  • Β β Beta
  • Γ γ Gamma
  • Δ δ Delta
  • Ε ε Epsilon
  • Ϝ ϝ Digamma
  • Ϛ ϛ Stigma
  • Ζ ζ Zeta
  • Ͱ ͱ Heta
  • Η η Eta
  • Θ θ Theta
  • Ι ι Iota
  • Ϳ ϳ Yot
  • Κ κ Kappa
  • Λ λ Lambda
  • Μ μ Mu
  • Ν ν Nu
  • Ξ ξ Xi
  • Ο ο Omicron
  • Π π Pi
  • Ϻ ϻ San
  • Ϙ ϙ Koppa
  • Ρ ρ Rho
  • Σ σ Sigma
  • Τ τ Tau
  • Υ υ Upsilon
  • Φ φ Phi
  • Χ χ Chi
  • Ψ ψ Psi
  • Ω ω Omega
  • Ͳ ͳ Sampi
  • Ϸ ϸ Sho

The Modern Greek alphabet [6]

Greek alphabet

Modern Greek Alphabet

The Latin alphabet

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

[7]

The English alphabetEdit

The English alphabet is exclusively comprised of characters of the Latin alphabet. In previous years it also included letters from other alphabets, but those letters phased out of the English alphabet at around 1500 A.D. Many words in the English language also contain Latin and Greek roots.

ReferencesEdit

[8]

[9]

[10]

  1. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/language/f/1stalphabet.htm
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenician_alphabet
  5. all glyphs tagged GREEK ... LETTER
  6. http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/glie/greek_dict.php
  7. http://www.archaeology.org/0001/newsbriefs/egypt.html
  8. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1452772?seq=2&Search=yes&term=alphabet&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dthe%2Balphabet%2B%26wc%3Don&item=1&ttl=47022&returnArticleService=showArticle&resultsServiceName=doBasicResultsFromArticle
  9. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/language/f/1stalphabet.htm
  10. http://www.archaeology.org/0001/newsbriefs/egypt.html


Etymology

Etymological processes

        Word creation

                Eponyms · Toponyms · Onomatopoeia · Reduplication · Blend · Back-formation

        Word evolution

                Phonological: Assimilation · Dissimilation · Metathesis

                Morphological: Folk etymology

                Semantic: Semantic widening · Semantic narrowing · Elevation · Degeneration · Metaphorical extension

Languages which have influenced English

        Latin · Greek · French · German · Spanish · Arabic · Old Norse · Proto-Indo-European

Special topics

        Shakespeare's impact on English · Origin and evolution of the alphabet

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