Re: Aramaic, Samaritan, Phoenician

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Jul 14 2003 - 21:27:52 EDT

  • Next message: Mark Davis: "Re: ISO 639 "duplicate" codes (was: Re: Ligatures in Turkish and Azeri, was: Accented ij ligatures)"

    It's 01:50, so don't expect too much coherence or detail....

    At 16:03 -0700 2003-07-14, Peter Kirk wrote:
    >On 14/07/2003 15:15, Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    >>So those charts are always a good place to start checking
    >>when wanting to know what the status of some obscure
    >>script might be in Unicode.
    >Glancing through these roadmaps I came across proposals for Aramaic,
    >Samaritan and Phoenician. These alphabets look to me like glyph
    >variants of the Hebrew alphabet.

    The entities do have one-to-one relationship, yes.

    >In fact the regular Hebrew alphabet, as in the reference glyphs, was
    >originally an Aramaic alphabet very like the Aramaic one in the
    >proposal. This replaced the "old" Hebrew alphabet used before in
    >inscriptions from the 6th century BCE, and occasionally later, which
    >looks much more like Phoenician as proposed.

    Phoenician, not Square Hebrew, is the script that the Greeks
    borrowed. Square Hebrew developed subsequently, and while it is often
    used to transliterate Phoenician, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and other
    scripts, it seems inappropriate to subsume the earlier script in the
    later. Phoenician is usually considered a Schrift-an-sich by students
    of the history of writing.

    >Some parts of the Hebrew Bible are actually in the Aramaic language,
    >but in exactly the same script as the Hebrew parts.

    True, but Portuguese was written in Arabic script for a time. The
    fact that Hebrew script is used for Aramaic doesn't mean that Aramaic
    shouldn't be encoded. Note that in some early Square Hebrew
    manuscripts the Teragrammaton is written in Phoenician/Canaanite

    >So is there a real justification for separate alphabets here?

    To my mind, yes.

    >On the other hand, I did find a separate use for the Samaritan
    >letter shin. This is used in the Hebrew Bible and elsewhere as a
    >text critical symbol, denoting the Samaritan Pentateuch, a variant
    >form of part of the Bible.

    And the Samaritan Pentateuch is often printed in the Samaritan script.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jul 14 2003 - 22:00:50 EDT