The Invention of the Alphabet


From Egyptian to Phoenician

From Phoenician to Greek

From Greek to Latin


  1. AncientScripts.comProto-Canaanite & Phoenician , <http://www.ancientscripts.com/>,  July 29, 2005. Figures 1, 2, 2a, and 3.
  2. Evolution of Picture Writing to Alphabet , <http://www.phoenicia.org/demotic.html> ,  July 29, 2005 . Figures 2 and 2a.
  3. Evolution of Phoenician into Latin/Western scripts and Arabic/Eastern scripts   , <http://www.phoenicia.org/imgs/evolchar.gif>  , in Phoenician Alphabet  <http://phoenicia.org/alphabet.html> , July 29, 2005 .  Figure 3.
  4. Omniglot , <http://www.omniglot.com/>, July 29, 2005.
  5. Wikipedia , <http://www.wikipedia.org/> , July 29, 2005. 
  6. The Origins and Emergence of West Semitic Alphabetic Scripts  , <http://www.lib.byu.edu/%7Eimaging/negev/Origins.html> ,  July 29, 2005.
  7. Albright, William Foxwell; The Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions and their decipherment; (Series: Harvard theological studies, 22); (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1966.) 
  8. Bonfante, Giuliano and Larissa; The Etruscan language : an introduction; (New York : New York University Press, 1983.)   
  9. Coulmas, Florian, The Writing Systems of the World; (New York, Basil Blackwell Inc. 1989.)    [Excellent overall discussion of writing sytems, more in depth than Sampson.]
  10. Daniels, Peter T.; "Writing Systems," pp. 43-80, in Aronoff, Mark, and Rees-Miller, Janie; The Handbook of Linguistics;  (Malden, Mass., USA : Blackwell Publishers, 2001.)  P121 .H324 2001.  [Excellent brief overview of all writing systems; gives reason for Greek vowel development, p. 54.]
  11. Garbini, Giovanni; “The Question of the Alphabet,” pp. 86-103, in  Moscati, Sabatino; The Phoenicians / under the scientific direction of Sabatino Moscati;  1st American ed. (New York : Abbeville Press, 1988.)   [Mentions Alessandro Bausani, 1978 hypothesis on alphabet order, p. 102.]
  12. Jeffrey, L.H.; The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece; (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1961.)  [Most definitive info on early Greek scripts and use of samekh, X.] 
  13. Man, John; Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World; (Barnes and Noble, by arrgt with John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2005.) copyright 2000 by John Man. ISBN 0-7607-6610-X .
  14. Robinson, Andrew; Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts; (New York, McGraw-Hill, 2002.)  [Good treatment of Etruscan and Linear B.  All discussions of undeciphered scripts are excellent.]  
  15. Sacks, David; Language Visible: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z ; (Broadway Books, New York, 2003).  ISBN 0-7679-1172-5.
  16. Sass, Benjamin.; Studia alphabetica : on the origin and early history of the Northwest Semitic, South Semitic and Greek alphabets;  (Series: Orbis biblicus et orientalis ; 102); (Freiburg, Schweiz, UniversitStsverlag, 1991.)  
  17. Sampson, Geoffrey; Writing Systems: A linguistic introduction; (London, Hutchinson and Co. 1985.)   [Good, brief info on early Greek and Latin, also on medieval and Renaissance scripts.  Very good overall view of writing systems.]  
  18. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.  (Springfield, MS, USA, Merriam-Webster, Inc., ©1984.)  Alphabet table near "alphabet" entry used in Figure 3.        

       Thanks to Dr. John E. Koontz and Dr. Peter T. Daniels for their comments. 

Address correspondence to ctesibos at yahoo dot com  .