The Alphabet




a͗ b g ḫ d h w z ḥ ṭ y k š l m ḏ n ẓ s ʿ p ṣ q r ṯ ġ t ı͗ u͗ s̀


a.jpg
b.jpg
g.jpg
h_rocker.jpg
d.jpg
h.jpg
w.jpg
z.jpg
h_dot.jpg
t_dot.jpg
y.jpg
k.jpg
shin.jpg
l.jpg
m.jpg
d_underline.jpg
n.jpg
z_dot.jpg
s.jpg
ayin.jpg
p.jpg
s_dot.jpg
q.jpg
r.jpg
th.jpg
gayin.jpg
t.jpg
i.jpg
u.jpg
s7.jpg
wd.jpg



Pardee, Dennis. 2007. In FS Gragg.


•C. Virroleaud, E. Dhorme, and H. Bauer worked independently to decipher the script in less than a year. Day, P. 2002. SEL 19:37-57.
•The alphabetic cuneiform writing system used to express the Ugaritic language was either (1) invented at Ugarit (the texts that use it are not found elsewhere in the same numbers) or (2) borrowed from a similar language (note the addition of three letters at the end of the alphabet [cf. the addition at the end of the Phonician-adopted Greek alphabet] and the apparent lack of precise correlation between the alphabet and the historical phonemic inventory); cf. (Pardee 2007, 183-4). If it was invented at Ugarit, then it did not evolve as the spoken language evolved as suggested by the relative rare usage of {ḏ} and {ẓ}. One finds {d} for the relative/determinative pronoun when the historical phoneme is /ð/.
•The alphabetic principle was known at least as early as the first half of the second millennium BCE as evidenced from the Proto-Canaanite and Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions. Thus, it does not appear that the alphabetic principle was invented at Ugarit.
•There is a close connection between the Ugaritic alphabet and the linear alphabet used in 1st millennium Syria-Palestine, i.e. the Phoenician alphabet that the speakers of the Aramaic and Hebrew languages borrowed to write their own languages. Note the order of the letters is nearly parallel with the exception of the unused letters.


References cited on this page:


Day, P. 2002. Dies diem docet: the Decipherment of Ugaritic. Studi epigrafici e linguistici 19:37-57.

Ellison, Jon Lee. 2002. A Paleographic Study of the Alphabetic Cuneiform Texts from Ras Shamra/Ugarit. Ph.D. Dissertation, The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.

Pardee, Dennis. 2007. The Ugaritic Alphabetic Cuneiform Writing System in the Context of Other Alphabetic Systems. In Cynthia Miller, ed., Studies in Semitic and Afroasiatic Linguistics Presented to Gene B. Gragg. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 60:181-200. Chicago: University of Chicago.