The Greeks adopted it and renamed it “delta.” The Romans later added serifs and varied the thickness of the lines, softening one side into a semicircle. “R” first appears in ancient Semitic in the form of a profile of a human. [Online]Available at:, I am a university student doing a BA degree in Archaeology. Comparisons have been made between the letters of these two ancient scripts in order to find a link between them. Wynn: ƿ But the ampersand was once considered part of the alphabet. By 1000 BC, the Phoenicians referred to it as “taw,” meaning “mark,” with our current “tee” sound. As the alphabet plays such an important role in our world today, one might expect that this writing system has existed since the dawn of civilization. The “F” of Phoenician times resembled a “Y” and sounded like “waw.” The ancient Greeks changed it to “digamma” and tipped the “Y” over to look like a drunk version of our “F.” The Romans regulated the writing of the letter centuries later, drawing the cross lines at firm geometric right angles, also giving it the “fff” sound. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Sports cars, muscle cars, racing cars… everything from simple to cool cars. We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives. A-to-Z: Every Letter Has a Story Use this playful writing project to create an alphabet book of silly stories with students. Your email address will not be published. If yes, then try out the Alphabet Story worksheet. Wynn filled the void, but not for long. ), this impressive sword is shrouded in mystery. To illustrate this point, in Mesopotamia, which is considered to be the oldest civilization in the world, a writing system known as the cuneiform script was invented by the Sumerians towards the end of the 4 th millennium BC. Who Destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria? Along with printable and projectable books for the letters of the alphabet, there are flashcards, Chants , and Letter Formation Worksheets to help teachers, parents, and caregivers teach the alphabetic principle. During the Middle Ages, Charlemagne’s scribes placed two “U’s” side by side with a space between (as in literally “double U”), a new letter that sounded like a “V.” It wasn’t until around 1700 that W as a unique letter (not two “U’s” or two “V’s” placed side-by-side) emerged in printing presses across Europe. Early “S’s” appeared 3,600 years ago as a horizontal, curvy “W” shape, meant to denote an archer’s bow. Alot of people do algrebra and precalculas and triginometry everyday without realizing it. Many important archaeological finds have been made by accident down the years. Reading A-Z English Alphabet Books and their accompanying resources help students learn to identify, name, and write the letters of the alphabet. The Romans closed the loop, and flipped it right, by 200 BC. ESL Job Postings on Dave’s ESL Cafe: To Trust or Not To Trust? Ancient Origins © 2013 - 2020Disclaimer - Terms of Publication - Privacy Policy & Cookies - Advertising Policy - Submissions - We Give Back - Contact us. This system, which has been named ‘Proto-Sinaitic’, is speculated to have been developed either during the 19 th century BC by Canaanite workers living in the Sinai Peninsula, or during the 15 th century BC by Semitic workers living in Central Egypt. The ancient Greeks had a letter “ksi” which sounded like our “X.” Lower case “x’s” arrive via handwritten manuscripts of early medieval times and the Italian printers of the late 15th century. But how much quality control does Dave put into each ESL job posting and what is of value on the website? “Z” might be the last letter of the alphabet, but it’s an elder. This type of writing is characterised by a standard set of letters, each of which represent a basic significant sound (known as a phoneme) of the spoken language. Resembling an animal’s head with antlers or horns, the original meaning of the letter in ancient Semitic was “ox.”, Flip “B” on its belly and you see a home — complete with a door, a room and a roof. Sitemap “Z” might be the last letter of the alphabet, but it’s an elder. Ethel: œ This story has been shared 152,018 times. We've received your submission. The resulting script was known as phoïnikeia grammata (meaning ‘Phoenician letters’), which shows that the ancient Greeks were aware that their alphabetic system has its roots in the Phoenician script. Both entertaining and educational, A-dventure-Z: The Story of the Alphabet illustrates the history and development of the ancient signs that eventually led to the creation of the Roman alphabet. At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. The Greeks adopted it as “zeta” around 800 BC, when it evolved into our modern “Z” shape (and also led to the creation of our “G”) with the sound of “dz.” The letter fell into disuse for several centuries, until the Norman French arrived with words that used the “Z” sound. Author Michael Rosen devotes 400-plus pages to topsy-turvy history of our letters in his entertaining “Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells A Story” (Counterpoint), dedicating a chapter to each of the 26 letters. 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It is known, for example, that this script was adopted by the Greeks at some point during the 8 th century BC or even earlier, and then adapted it to suit their own language. Naupa Iglesia: An Egyptian Portal in the Andes? Capital “V’s” at the start of words started to appear in the 1400s. Hieroglyphs. Pronounced “resh” it translated to (no surprise) “head.” The Romans flipped it to face right and added a tail, “probably to distinguish it from ‘P’,” writes Rosen. “I” was a popular letter and often a stand-in for “j” sounds. Terms of Use This is an example of Roman ligature, meaning the tying together of two letters, in this case “a” and “e.” Though it was dropped as a letter from English, it remains one in Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic. It has been hypothesised by scholars that the famous Phoenician alphabetic system was based on the Proto-Sinaitic script. This can be a bit challenging for a kindergarten class, but it's also tons of fun. Divers and archaeologists in Lithuania have found the remains of a medieval soldier in a lake. Are Fossils Linked to the Legendary Kraken Enough to Prove its Terrifying Existence? Whilst the Proto-Sinaitic script is still not entirely understood by scholars, another better known early alphabetic system is that of the Ugaritic script. Why Fauci thinks COVID-19 won't be a pandemic 'for a lot longer'. This can be a bit challenging for a kindergarten class, but it’s also tons of fun. If you need more writing worksheets, see our free printable activity sheets below. Phoenicians added an angularity that looks more like our “W’s” At this stage it was known as “shin” meaning “tooth.” The early Greeks rotated it to the vertical and called it “sigma” with the “s” sound — and the Romans flipped it. An inverted “V”-shape appears in early Semitic language 3,800 years ago, sounding like “pe” and meaning “mouth.” The Phoenicians adapted it to a diagonal hook shape at the top. The origin of the alphabet has been traced to ancient Egypt, though it has been pointed out that it was not the ancient Egyptians themselves who invented the alphabet. One of the results of these encounters was the adoption and adaptation of an alphabetic script by the Latins. Learning Alphabet is the first step to master English. Your Ad Choices The “E” of 3,800 years ago, pronounced “h” in Semitic, resembled a stick with two arms and a leg meant to signify a human form. The first “C” shape emerged in Phoenician and stood for a hunter’s stick or boomerang. The breathy sound associated with the letter made academics argue that the letter was unnecessary — and many Latin and British scholars began dropping the “H” in 500 AD. [Online]Available at:, Melissa, 2013. This page lists the letters of the English alphabet from a to z. The Nephilim: Giant Offspring of the Sons of God and the Daughters of Man? If you need car coloring pages, here are 10 of the best car coloring sheets available. Over time, the crescent curved. The development of the alphabet becomes a little clearer from the Phoenician alphabetic script onwards. That’s because many of our letters began as Egyptian hieroglyph symbols 4,000 years ago, with a hodgepodge of Semitic, Phoenician, Greek and Roman influences thrown in. An expert has studied three letters written by ancient Egyptians and made some interesting discoveries. Their Origins May Surprise You, Ancient Anomalous Human Skeletons: Humanity Could be Much Older Than We Think, The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts.