Phoenician alphabet

This page lists of the various symbols in the Phoenician alphabet group.

The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, is the oldest verified alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet is an abjad consisting of 22 letters, all consonants, with matres lectionis used for some vowels in certain late varieties. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia.

Symbols in this group:

ayin

Ayin or Ayn is the sixteenth letter of the Semitic abjad, including Phoenician ʿayin Phoenician ayin.svg, Hebrew ʿayin ע, Aramaic ʿē Ayin.svg, Syriac ʿē ܥ, and Arabic ʿayn ع (where it is sixteenth in abjadi order only). ﻉ comes twenty‐first in the Persian alphabet and eighteenth in the hijaʾi order of Arabic.

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bēt

Bet, Beth, Beh, or Vet is the second letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Bēt Phoenician beth.svg, Hebrew Bēt ב, Aramaic Bēth Beth.svg, Syriac Bēṯ ܒ, and Arabic Bāʾ ب Its sound value is a Voiced bilabial stop ⟨b⟩ or a Voiced labiodental fricative ⟨v⟩. This letter's name means "house" in various Semitic languages (Arabic bayt, Akkadian bītu, bētu, Hebrew: bayiṯ, Phoenician bt etc.; ultimately all from Proto-Semitic *bayt-), and appears to derive from an Egyptian hieroglyph of a house by acrophony.

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dālet

Dalet (dāleth, also spelled Daleth or Daled) is the fourth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Dālet Phoenician daleth.svg, Hebrew 'Dālet ד, Aramaic Dālath Daleth.svg, Syriac Dālaṯ ܕ, and Arabic Dāl د (in abjadi order; 8th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiced alveolar plosive ([d]).

The letter is based on a glyph of the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, probably called dalt "door" (door in Modern Hebrew is delet), ultimately based on a hieroglyph depicting a door,

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gīml

Gimel is the third letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Gīml Phoenician gimel.svg, Hebrew ˈGimel ג, Aramaic Gāmal Gimel.svg, Syriac Gāmal ܓ, and Arabic ǧīm ج (in alphabetical order; fifth in spelling order). Its sound value in the original Phoenician and in all derived alphabets, save Arabic, is a voiced velar plosive [ɡ]; in Modern Standard Arabic, it represents either a /d͡ʒ/ or /ʒ/ for most Arabic speakers except in Lower Egypt, the southern parts of Yemen and some parts of Oman where it is pronounced as a voiced velar plosive [ɡ], see below and also Persian Gaf گ.

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He is the fifth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Hē Phoenician he.svg, Hebrew Hē ה, Aramaic Hē He0.svg, Syriac Hē ܗ, and Arabic Hāʾ ﻫ. Its sound value is a voiced glottal fricative ([ɦ]).

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ḥēt

Ḥet or H̱et (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the eighth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ḥēt Phoenician heth.png, Hebrew Ḥēt ח, Aramaic Ḥēth Heth.svg, Syriac Ḥēṯ ܚ, and Arabic Ḥā' ح.

Heth originally represented a voiceless fricative, either pharyngeal /ħ/, or velar /x/ (the two Proto-Semitic phonemes having merged in Canaanite[citation needed]). In Arabic, two corresponding letters were created for both phonemic sounds: unmodified ḥāʾ ح represents /ħ/, while ḫāʾ خ represents /x/.

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kāp

Kaf (also spelled kaph) is the eleventh letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Kāp Phoenician kaph.svg, Hebrew Kāf כ, Aramaic Kāp Kaph.svg, Syriac Kāp̄ ܟܟ, and Arabic Kāf ک/ك (in Abjadi order).

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lāmed

Lamed or Lamedh is the twelfth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Lāmed Phoenician lamedh.svg, Hebrew 'Lāmed ל, Aramaic Lāmadh Lamed.svg, Syriac Lāmaḏ ܠ, and Arabic Lām ل. Its sound value is [l].

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mēm

Mem (also spelled Meem or Mim) is the thirteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Mēm Phoenician mem.svg, Hebrew Mēm מ, Aramaic Mem Mem.svg, Syriac Mīm ܡܡ, and Arabic Mīm م. Its value is [m].

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nūn

Nun is the fourteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Nūn Phoenician nun.svg, Hebrew Nun נ, Aramaic Nun Nun.svg, Syriac Nūn ܢܢ, and Arabic Nūn ن (in abjadi order). It is the third letter in Thaana (ނ), pronounced as "noonu".

Its sound value is [n].

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Pe is the seventeenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Pē Phoenician pe.svg, Hebrew Pē פ, Aramaic Pē Pe0.svg, Syriac Pē ܦ, and Arabic Fāʼ ف (in abjadi order) and also Persian Peʼ پ.

The original sound value is a voiceless bilabial plosive: /p/; it retains this value in most Semitic languages except for Arabic, which having lost /p/ now uses it to render a voiceless labiodental fricative /f/.

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qōp

Qoph or Qop (Phoenician Qōp Phoenician qoph.svg) is the nineteenth letter of the Semitic abjads. Aramaic Qop Qoph.svg is derived from the Phoenician letter, and derivations from Aramaic include Hebrew Qof ק, Syriac Qōp̄ ܩ and Arabic Qāf ق.

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rēš

Resh is the twentieth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Rēsh Phoenician res.svg, Hebrew Rēsh ר, Aramaic Rēsh Resh.svg, Syriac Rēsh ܪ, and Arabic Rāʾ ر. Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually [r] or [ɾ], but also [ʁ] or [ʀ] in Hebrew.

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ṣādē

Ṣade (also spelled Ṣādē, Tsade, Ṣaddi, Ṣad, Tzadi, Sadhe, Tzaddik) is the eighteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Çādē Phoenician sade.svg, Hebrew Ṣādi צ, Aramaic Ṣāḏē Sade 1.svg, Syriac Ṣāḏē ܨ, and Arabic Ṣād ص. Its oldest sound value is probably /sˤ/, although there is a variety of pronunciation in different modern Semitic languages and their dialects. It represents the coalescence of three Proto-Semitic "emphatic consonants" in Canaanite. Arabic, which kept the phonemes separate, introduced variants of ṣād and ṭāʾ to express the three (see ḍād, ẓāʾ). In Aramaic, these emphatic consonants coalesced instead with ʿayin and ṭēt, respectively, thus Hebrew ereṣ ארץ (earth) is araʿ ארע in Aramaic.

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sāmek

Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ṣāmek Phoenician samekh.svg, Hebrew ˈSamekh ס, Aramaic Semkath Samekh.svg, Syriac Semkaṯ ܣ, representing /s/. The Arabic alphabet, however, uses a letter based on Phoenician Šīn to represent /s/ (see there); however, that glyph takes Samekh's place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic alphabet.

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šīn

Shin (also spelled Šin (šīn) or Sheen) literally means "teeth", "press", and "sharp"; It is the twenty-first letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Shin Phoenician sin.svg, Hebrew Shin ש, Aramaic Shin Shin.svg, Syriac Shin ܫ, and Arabic Shin ش‎ (in abjadi order, 13th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiceless sibilant, [ʃ] or [s].

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tāw

Taw, tav, or taf is the twenty-second and last letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Tāw Phoenician taw.svg, Hebrew Tav ת, Aramaic Taw Taw.svg, Syriac Taw ܬ, and Arabic Tāʼ ت (in abjadi order, 3rd in modern order). Its original sound value is /t/.

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ṭēt

Teth, also written as Ṭēth or Tet, is the ninth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ṭēt Phoenician teth.svg, Hebrew Ṭēt ט, Aramaic Ṭēth Teth.svg, Syriac Ṭēṯ ܛ, and Arabic Ṭāʾ ط. It is 16th in modern Arabic order. The Persian Ța is pronounced as a hard "t" sound and is the 19th letter in the modern Persian alphabet. The Phoenician letter also gave rise to the Greek theta (Θ), originally an aspirated voiceless alveolar stop but now used for the voiceless dental fricative.

The sound value of Teth is /tˤ/, one of the Semitic emphatic consonants.

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wāw

Waw (wāw "hook") is the sixth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician wāw Phoenician waw.svg, Aramaic waw Waw.svg, Hebrew vav (also vau) ו, Syriac waw ܘ and Arabic wāw و (sixth in abjadi order; 27th in modern Arabic order).

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yōd

Yodh (also spelled Yud, Yod, Jod, or Jodh) is the tenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Yōd Phoenician yodh.svg, Hebrew Yōd י, Aramaic Yodh Yod.svg, Syriac Yōḏ ܚ, and Arabic Yāʾ ي (in abjadi order, 28th in modern order). Its sound value is /j/ in all languages for which it is used; in many languages, it also serves as a long vowel, representing /iː/.

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zayin

Zayin (also spelled zain or zayn or simply zay) is the seventh letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Zayin Phoenician zayin.svg, Hebrew 'Zayin ז, Aramaic Zain Zayin.svg, Syriac Zayn ܙ, and Arabic Zayn ز. It represents the sound [z].

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ʾālep

Aleph is the first letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician 'Ālep Phoenician aleph.svg, Hebrew 'Ālef א, Aramaic Ālap Aleph.svg, Syriac ʾĀlap̄ ܐ, Arabic Alif ا, and Persian.

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