Re: Aramaic, Samaritan, Phoenician

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Jul 15 2003 - 14:30:17 EDT

  • Next message: Thomas M. Widmann: "Re: Aramaic, Samaritan, Phoenician"

    On 15/07/2003 11:14, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    >What ultimately is important is whether the *users* of a
    >Unicode encoding for Aramaic would be better served by
    >treating certain historical texts across SW Asia as variants
    >of Hebrew (or Syriac) and encoding them accordingly, or
    >better served by having a distinct character encoding to
    >represent those texts.
    >I don't think you can discover that by trying to analyze the
    >script characteristics axiomatically.
    >The main reason for separately encoding Coptic, rather than
    >maintaining what we now recognize to be a mistaken unification
    >with the Greek script, is that it is less useful to people
    >who want to represent Coptic texts to have it be encoded
    >as a variant of Greek than it is to have it be encoded as a
    >distinct script.
    Thank you for this helpful clarification - the whole posting

    I think that what might be helpful is to get an idea of how ancient
    scripts like Phoenician and Aramaic are represented in modern scholarly
    publications. I guess they are commonly transliterated. But when they
    are not, I wonder if they are represented by copies of actual ancient
    glyphs, or by the equivalent Hebrew or Syriac etc letters. Well, I don't
    have the answer immediately, but I may be able to find out. What I can
    tell you is that in the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew lexicon all Aramaic
    words, including those from inscriptions, are represented in Hebrew
    script. But so are ancient south Arabian inscriptions. But Arabic,
    Syriac and Ethiopic are represented in their own scripts, and Akkadian
    cuneiform is transliterated. But this work does of course have a bias
    towards Hebrew. this dictionary dates from 1906, so it hardly represents
    contemporary practice.

    Peter Kirk

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