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The alphabet

Posted by Bob on June 24, 2003

In Reply to: The alphabet posted by Leigh on June 24, 2003

: I know this is meant to eb a forum about phrases and such but I have posted on here and other sites before and found I get the best responce here.

: Why is the alphabet ordered the way it is, I know that I derives from the greek and possibly some civilisation before them but in the very begining, why was the alphabet order the way it is. Is there a reason for the order or was it just random????

An interesting question, since many alphabets follow a pattern that is quite ancient. I found this answer on a website at

"... a question that remainded unanswered for many years, but to which a surprising and stimulating solution may have recently been found. The order of the letters in our alphabet (a, b, c, d, e... ) is extremely ancient: there is direct evidence of it from a 14th century B.C. primer discovered in Ugarit. But what kind of logic underlies the order in the alphabet? It is certainly not phonetic (phonetically similar sounds such as t and d or s and z are far apart), nor is it graphic (graphically similar signs such as ayn and tet or gimel and lamed or rather gimel and pe are not contiguous). Given the typical spirit of ancient Oriental civilization however, it is difficult to believe that the grouping is completely - or even partially - random, with no kind of criterion whatsoever. In 1978 a solution was suggested by Alessandro Bausani, a brillant orientalist who later turned his talents to the history of Oriental astronomy. Bausani's studies of Arabic, Indian and Iranian astronomy on lunar stations, related at times to the ancient order of the Arabic alphabet (i.e. the Phoenician order), let him conclude that the Phoenician alphabetic order represented a kind of calendar in which the signs aleph , tet , ayn and taw seem respectively to represent the autumn equinox, the winter solstice, the spring equinox and the summer solstice, within an astronomic configuration in which the autumn equinox full moon was close to the Pleiades: that is , around the years 2000 or 1600 B.C.