Re: New Contribution: In support of Phoenician from a user

From: Deborah W. Anderson (
Date: Sun May 02 2004 - 13:57:44 CDT

As one coming from the world of ancient Indo-European (IE) and as editor of a journal on IE out of UCLA, I am in support of the Phoenician proposal.

In Indo-European, the origins of the Greek alphabet are of interest, and hence the materials that discuss Phoenician as the possible source for the rise of the Greek alphabet are important (as discussed, for example, in Barry Powell's _Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet_, Cambridge, 1991).

From my perspective, I would like to be able to see in plain text the Phoenician as it appears in inscriptions where the purported Phoenician to Greek transmission may have occurred (Hama or Al Mina, Syria, for example, in the first half of the first millennium B.C.). A facsimile could capture the inscription, but I would like to be able to cite and discuss the words and letters in plain text, particularly to compare the Phoenician letters to the Greek letter forms. (Powell's book includes inline examples of the Phoenician and Greek letters.) In order to do this, I need Phoenician to appear, and not Hebrew, and would use a Phoenician encoding (if in Unicode).

Also, as a advocate of the use of Unicode in the journal I edit--which will eventually be made available online (in XML)--I need to be make sure that if an article on Greek/Phoenician were published online, users will see the Phoenician letters, and not Hebrew, which a Phoenician encoding would allow.

Additionally, I am myself interested in tracking the use of the PHOENICIAN WORD SEPARATOR and what its relation to the AEGEAN WORD SEPARATOR DOT (and AEGEAN WORD SEPARATOR LINE) may be.
(There is a different opinion on the origin of the Greek script by Roger Woodard, _Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer_ [Oxford, 1997] in which he instead puts the "invention" of the Greek script in the hands of Cypriot syllabary scribes during Mycenaean times. But here, too, the ultimate origin of the Greek script lies with the Phoenician script.)

With best regards,
Deborah Anderson

Deborah Anderson
Researcher, Dept. of Linguistics
UC Berkeley

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