The Alphabet

The Alphabet by Micheal N. Geselowitz from “The Ancient Mediterranean” discusses the creation and evolution of symbols that we now call the Alphabet. From the earliest existence of civilization, cuneiform was one of the only forms of writing language that individuals would use. Cuneiform consisted of wedge-shaped characters that would mainly be wedged on clay tablets that individuals used to communicate with each other. Cuneiform was an impressive skill to know and understand but it took scribes many years to learn all of the different variations of symbols and combinations that all meant different things.  

By 1500 and 1200 BCE, people called the Canaanites were able to produce a simplified language that could be widely used and easier to understand among more people. They realized that they did not need to use symbols that resembled pictures to understand certain things, instead, they decided to base the new script on a pared-down number of symbols. Through the years of the alphabet being created and solidified, the Phoenicians realized that the words could be broken down into distinct sounds or phonemes which we now call constants and vowels.  The alphabet that the Phoenicians were creating was not as advanced as it is now in the modern day, but yet a building blocks to the form of the alphabet that we use today. The first two letters of the Phoenician alphabet were alpha and beth and put together, they make up the word “alphabet” – any system of writing based on phonetic letters.



The alphabet made the creation of a script and reading much easier. Instead of taking years and years to master the understanding of cuneiform, a learner of the alphabet only had to master a handful of symbols rather than several thousand. Since this system of writing and reading was also efficient, it quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean and Near Eastern Irading networks. Many different parts of the world adopted the alphabet and it descended the idea of modern language and different interpretations among people.–language/

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