How did the Phoenicians contribute greatly to written communication?

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The Phoenician alphabet was generated around 1500 BC and currently stands as the earliest documented evidence of humans generating a written form of individual sounds that are combined to create written language. This advancement in language represents the earliest effort of humans to attempt to simplify written communication, as the...

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The Phoenician alphabet was generated around 1500 BC and currently stands as the earliest documented evidence of humans generating a written form of individual sounds that are combined to create written language. This advancement in language represents the earliest effort of humans to attempt to simplify written communication, as the letters modeled individual sounds that could be combined into words and phrases, thus streamlining the Phoenicians' ability to communicate ideas and news within their society.

This advancement in language was a vast improvement on the cuneiform language, which had existed for roughly 2000 years at the time the Phoenician alphabet was created. Cuneiform featured almost 1,000 characters, making it a confusing system that was only accessible to the well-educated and the wealthy. With only 22 characters, the Phoenician alphabet made written language much more accessible to the common man.

Almost every subsequent alphabet has its basis in the Phoenician model. While most western languages read from left to right, the Phoenician alphabet was read from right to left, as were later written languages developed in the Middle East. The characters were written with delicate and deliberate curves, which evolved over time into the cursive letters that we still use to this day.

Because the Phoenician empire was heavily involved in international trade, the Phoenician model for written communication spread throughout their spheres of influence. The Coptic, Aramaic, Syraic, and Hebrew alphabets are direct descendants of the Phoenician standard. The Greeks would later adapt elements of the Phoenician alphabet in order to simplify their written script, which would later influence the Latin alphabet. Ultimately, almost every existing written alphabetic form can be directly traced to the Phoenicians and the spread of the written word throughout their trade routes.

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The Phoenicians made a significant contribution to writing by developing the first alphabet. Other countries either borrowed or modified their own alphabet based on the Phoenician alphabet. Phoenician words can be seen in the writing of other groups of people. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Hebrews all are examples of groups of people that have evidence of some Phoenician words in their writings.

The Phoenician alphabet consisted of 22 letters. There are no vowels. The Phoenician writing system is read from the right to the left. The same is true for Phoenician numerals.

The Phoenician writing system is evident in parts of the Old Testament. Since there were no other viable writing systems at the same, the Phoenician alphabet was used to transliterate the Old Testament.

The Phoenician alphabet and writing system was used as the basis of the writing system for many other groups of people.

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