Greek Alphabet Essay

Greek Alphabet Essay

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Many scholars have yet to prove the origin of Greek alphabet. However, one fact is for certain: the origin of Greek alphabet does not mean the origin of the writing system to the Greek language. Not a completely new “invention,” the Greek alphabet is undoubtedly from a script that the Semitic peoples of Levantine coast used. Originally fashioned by ethnic Phoenician groups, the source alphabet is connected to the Ugaritic groups of writing systems that developed around the city of Ugarit (Powell 2009: 230). Nevertheless, the source alphabet and the Greek alphabet work differently as the Greek alphabet had specific signs for vowels that Phoenicians did not. Hence, regarding such differences and the adaptations of the original source alphabet, scholars divide in their opinions.
Conceived at some point in the early eighth century BC, the Greek alphabet is thought to have developed “in a single place, at a single time” (Wilson 2009: 544). Though scholars vary on whether it is a product of one individual or one community, the fact that early Greek alphabet have distinct regional variations imply that there was a single “mother-script”; hence, the local Greek scripts evolved from a single script that was developed in a single place at a single time. Assuming this, scholars then discuss where and when this single “invention” initiated. However, just as with all else, they offer different hypotheses. Judging on the criteria that there needs a Graeco-Phoenician interaction at the place of origin, a possibility for rapid dissemination of the alphabet across the Greek work, and the degree of closeness of the local script to the Phoenician alphabet, the potential locations of origin include: Crete, Cyprus, Al Mina in Syria, or other places t...


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...Polignac, Francois. 2009. Sanctuaries and Festivals. In A Companion to Archaic Greece, edited by K. A. Faaflaub and H. van Wees. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Fisher, Nick. 2009. The Culture of Competition. In A Companion to Archaic Greece, edited by K. A. Faaflaub and H. van Wees. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Osborne, Robin. 2009. Greece in the Making 1200-479 BC. 2d ed. London: Routledge.
Powell, Barry. 2009. Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Thomas, Rosalind. 1992. Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Wees, Hans. 2009. The Economy. In A Companion to Archaic Greece, edited by K. A. Faaflaub and H. van Wees. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wilson, John-Paul. 2009. Literacy. In A Companion to Archaic Greece, edited by K. A. Faaflaub and H. van Wees. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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