As I was reading one of my computer science textbooks on my laptop something made me think about languages in general and alphabets. The whole idea of an alphabet – symbols to represent phonetic sounds which can be re-used and combined to form words – all began with Phoenician.
Phoenician is where it all began. We all owe some major credit to where it is due: With the brilliant person or people who started the first alphabet several thousands of years ago.
As a computer science student I have come to a special appreciation for symbols and writing. As neat as Java, Python, SQL, PHP, etc. are I’m still fascinated by how it all began thousands of years ago and who the brilliant genius or geniuses were who developed it.
I imagine what it would have been like in the ancient world to be a trader or traveler visiting an exotic, distant place and to encounter a written alphabet for the first time. Nowadays we get excited about so many things. Imagine seeing written text for the first time and being blown away at the sheer genius of it.
I can easily imagine some people being so blown away by it that they would have stopped everything – completely dropped everything else they were doing – in order to learn this amazing new inscription system.
If you look carefully at the symbols of the Phoenician alphabet you will notice that many if not most of them closely resemble their Greek and/or Latin equivalents.
Phoenician. Love it!