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Phoenician Writing System

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 4 months ago

 

Topics on the Page

 

 Phoenician System of Writing

 

 The World's Writing Systems

 

CROSS-LINKS

 

 THE HISTORY OF WRITING and WRITING SYSTEMS from Young Writers Bookcase

 

Cuneiform Writing (Mesopotamia)

 

Hieroglyphic Writing (Egypt)

 

The Chinese Writing System

 

The Roman Alphabet and Latin Language

 


 

Focus Question: What was the Phoenician writing system and how did it impact people and society?

 



- KEY TAKEAWAYS -

 

1) The Phoenician writing system is remarkably old, and one of the first to resemble the modern English alphabet. Its beginning and end were both in the BCE era! 

 

  • It was used from about the 12th century BCE. to the 5th century BCE.

 

 

2) The Phoenician alphabet is one of the most important contributions to the world today.

 

  • Probably developed to help keep records of their trading, the Phoenician alphabet is the first documented alphabet in the world to use symbols to represent sounds rather than whole words, as is the case with Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

 

  • This type of writing devised by the Phoenicians is where the word "phonetic" derives from.

 

  • Their alphabet had 22 letters, each representing a consonant. Through trade, their alphabet spread to others such as the Greeks, who developed it further by adding letters for vowels.

 

  • Phoenician is a Canaanite language, and it is closely related to other Canaanite languages.

 

    • Here you can compare the Phoenician Alphabet to others from around the same time or later. 



3) The Greek alphabet was the basis for nearly all of the alphabets in Europe, and some other alphabets as far away as India. Even the modern English alphabet today would not be possible without the contributions made by the Phoenicians thousands of years ago.

 

Greek and Phoenician Colonization (Illustration) - World History  Encyclopedia

Map of Phoenician Trade and influence 

 

 

 Why did the Phoenicians come up with this alphabet? What was the point?

Who Were They? 

 

  • Just like today, the trade of goods both natural and crafted were incredibly important in the ancient world
  • The Phoenicians, living on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean had a unique access to both Asia and Europe
  • The Phoenicians had a very important resource in the ancient world, large and vast cedar tree forests
    • these trees were sought after for building ships, houses and other goods as it was incredibly strong, and because the trees were so tall, long logs and planks could be harvested
    • Fun fact! The flag of Lebanon has a cedar tree  on it to represent the trees strength, resilience, and the prosperity the tree has
    • brought the region for millennia                                                                                                                                                                      
  • They traded this cedar as far as modern Great Britain
  • Having a writing system based on sounds and not symbols made translating and learning new languages easier as they traveled long distances 

 

                                                                                                               The Lebanese Flag, adopted by the

                                                                                                                             country in 1943 

 

 


external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpgThe Phoenicians and the Beginnings of the Alphabet and a worksheet where students translate a message written in the Phoenician alphabet.

 

 

For more, see Phoenician Alphabet from the Phoenician Experience from the BBC

 

 

The Phoenician script was not often written on paper, or whatever alternative they had at the time. Instead, the writing was often inscribed in stone or in metal, as seen here with this now-famous sheet of gold.

The Phoenician script was not often written on paper, papyrus, or

any similar alternative they had access to at the time.

Instead, the writing was often inscribed in stone or soft metal,

as seen here with this now-famous sheet of gold.

 


 

The World's Writing Systems

Different world writing systems and relative usage by Planemad

Different world writing systems and relative usage by Planemad

 

 

Animated Map Shows How the World's First Written Languages Spread, Business Insider

 

 Short Video on the Start of the Alphabet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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