Table of the Phoenician Alphabet
Phoenician Encyclopedia
 
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Names of Characters, Phonetics, Derivatives and Modern Equivalents


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Note: The claim that the names of Phoenician characters have easy to understand meanings in modern Hebrew only is unfounded. Meanings of Phoenician characters are easily and equally understood by speakers of Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac. See meanings of characters in chart.

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Table of the Phoenician Alphabet
Names of Characters, Phonetics, Derivatives and Modern Equivalents

Phoenician

Latin (passed via Etruscans to Roman Alphabet)

 Sign

Names in Phoenician, Arabic & Hebrew

Meaning

Phone

Latin
History
 Aleph Ox A
laryngeal
consonent
A Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent alryngeal consonant ('), or glotal stop. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed its form, changed its name to Alpha and made the sign stand for the vowel A.
Beth, Bait  House B
consonant
B Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent b consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and inverted/reversed its form, changed its name to Beta and made the sign stand for the consonant B.
 Gimel, Gamel Camel G
consonant
C,
G
Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent g consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/curved its form, changed its name to Gamma and made the sign stand for the consonant G.
 Daleth, Dal Door D
consonant
D Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent d consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/curved its form, changed its name to Delta and made the sign stand for the consonant D.
He  Window H
consonant
E Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent h consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed its form, changed its name to Epsilon and made the sign stand for the vowel E.
Waw Hook W semi-
consonant
F Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent w semi- consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/altered its form, changed its name to Digamma and made the sign stand for the semi- consonant W.
 Heth, Hait  Wall H
laryngeal
consonent
H Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent h laryngeal consonent. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and removed the upper and lower bars, changed its name to Eta and made the sign stand for the consonant H.
Yodh, Yad Hand Y semi-
consonant
I,J Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent y semi- consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and removed its bars, changed its name to Iota and made the sign stand for the vowel I.
Kaph Hand K
consonant
K Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent k consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/altered its form, changed its name to Kappa and made the sign stand for the consonant K.
Lamedh, Lam Goad L
consonant
L Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent l consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/altered its form, changed its name to Lamda and made the sign stand for the consonant L.
Mem, Mai Water M
consonant
M Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent m consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician andreversed/curved its form, changed its name to M???? and made the sign stand for the consonant M.
Nun Snake N
consonant
N Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent n consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/curved its form, changed its name to Nu and made the sign stand for the consonant N.
Ayin Eye 3
laryngeal
consonant
O Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent 3 laryngeal consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician but had no use for its sound in Indo-European. They called Omikron and made the sign stand for the vowel short O.
Pe Mouth P
consonant
P Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent g consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/curved its form, changed its name to Pi and made the sign stand for the consonant P.
Qoph Monkey Q
voiceless
velar
Q Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent q voiceless velar. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and altered its form, changed its name to qoppa and but had no use for its sound in Indo-European so they used it for the sound K.
Resh, Ras Head R
consonant
R Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent r consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/altered its form, changed its name to Rho and made the sign stand for the consonant R.
Sin Tooth Sh
consonant
S Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent sh consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and reversed/curved its form, changed its name to Sigma and made the sign stand for the consonant S.
Taw, Tah Mark T
consonant
T Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent t consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and slightly altered its form, changed its name to Tau and made the sign stand for the consonant T.
Waw Hook W semi-
consonant
UV W Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent w semi- consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and altered its form, changed its name to Upsilon and made the sign stand for the vowel bare U.
Samekh, Sheen Fish S
consonant
X Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent s consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician and altered its form, changed its name to Xi and made the sign stand for the consonant X.
Zayin Sword Z
consonant
Z Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent z consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician as is, changed its name to Zeta and made the sign stand for the consonant Z.
Tet Tet Wheel Heavy T - Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent heavy T consonant.
Tsade Tsade Hunt Heavy S - Around 1700 B.C. this letter was used to represent heavy S consonant. After 900 B.C. the Greeks borrowed the sign from Phoenician as as a mathematical character sampi.

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