The Mysteries of the Alphabet: The Origins of Writing
Abbeville Press, 1999 - Art - 381 pages
Why is A the first letter of the alphabet? Why is O round? This work tells how Protosinaic pictograms - derived from Egyptian heiroglyphics and discovered in the Sinai only at the beginning of the 20th century - changed throughout the millennia and left their trace on our alphabet.
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ACQUIRED MEANINGS PERPETUATED acrophony Akkadian aleph Ancient Hebrew Arabic Aramaic Archaic Greek Archeography ayin Baalat became becomes beth Boeotia camel centun CLASSIC FORMS CLASSICAL AND MODERN cursive Hebrew Cursive script Cursive script ORIGINAL daleth DERIVATIVE MEANINGS Dynasty Egyptian hieroglyphics eighth century B.C.E. Etruscan alphabet fish following form FORMS IN PROTO-SINAITIC gimmel Greek Script Greek Script Greek head Hebrew and Phoenician HEBREW LANGUAGE Hebrew word horizontal lamed Latin letter Mesha stele MODERN HEBREW mouth NUMERIC VALUE omicron ORIGINAL FORMS pictogram pronounced proto proto-Canaanite proto-Sinaitic alphabet proto-Sinaitic inscriptions represents resh right to left samekh script ORIGINAL MEANINGS seventh century B.C.E. shape shin Sinai sixth century B.C.E. sound Square script Sumerian SUMMARY TABLE tenth century B.C.E. theta tion Transition to Greek tsadeh Ugaritic vertical stroke Western alphabets Western Greek alphabet written Yehimilk zayin