Last Word on Phoenicians, Phonetics, Etc.

It looks like we finally got the answer to whether Phoenician and phonetic, phonology, phone, phoneme, etc. are related – they are not, but both are from Greek words. Phonetic, phone, phonology, phoneme, etc. are derived from Greek Phonein, which means quite logically “to sound.” Phoenician, on the other hand, derives from a Greek word Phoenikoi for the people and region, derived from the word Phoenix which originally meant a particular conch shell that yielded a nice purple dye and later acquired the meaning via legend of a bird that rises from the ashes after it dies. I am not sure what the Phoenikoi were named after – perhaps the conch shell?

Anyway, the roots have no relationship to each other, but it was a nice hypothesis anyway. “Scientists” always like to chortle with ridicule at the notion of a “bad hypothesis” but I think in many cases, most hypotheses that seem prima facie reasonable are not bad hypotheses. Furthermore, I dislike the very notion of bad hypotheses as it smacks of the horrific arrogance all of the sciences engage in these days, even the ridiculous fake social “sciences” like my own pitiful specialty, Linguistics.

Miville writes:

Phonein (to sound) should first be sounded as the ancient Athenians did: not phoney-in, but pf-hone-een (or pf-honey-an as the Spartans did): the important thing is to try to sound out an f not with the teeth against the upper lip but with both lips as gently as to let off a beautiful soap bubble instead of ordinary spittle.

The Romans despite being the new lords on the block felt they were no match for Greece however decadent and derelict so they made that effort to sound the Greek ph the Greek way rather than like their own f, at least so as to spit gracefully down upon their own people, hence the spelling we inherited from them despite the fact no longer any Roman nor Greek knows any other sound than our own vulgar present f.

Phonein in Greek is written with an Omega, which was sounded Oh like in OMG in Athens and like Awe or (Golden) Dawn in Sparta. Phoenicia is derived, as regards the Greek language, from Phoenix, which was written with the false diphthong (original simple sound lacking a proper letter in the alphabet and therefore written two ones) oi which bore but little relationship whatever with either simple o or Omega and was rather sounded œ as in German Goethe or u as in turn depending on the city. Phonein meant to sound, phoenix rather derives from a word meaning a conch, the particular one whence came a very precious dark red dye, purpur or purple.

It also meant a legendary bird capable of rebirth after having passed through burnt offering. The legend was common (and still is in works such as the One and Thousand Nights) to all Near and Middle Eastern countries and the red color also pictured the Rising Sun, the Orient, hence the name given to the mariners stemming from the land of the rising sun also most renowned for its production of purple dye from the conch and for having given to Greece the alphabet.

The Phoenicians themselves called their own language and nationality Cana’an, so the name we use is a pure Greek creation, like the name Greek which is a Roman appellation for a people who call themselves Hellenes. The letters, of Phoenician origin, meant sounds, or phonemata.

The conch could also be used as a sounding horn, as is the symbol of the primeval creating divine vibration in many cultures, apart from the fact that in many languages a telephone receiver can be called a conch (Muschel in German). The proximate sounds, however, prove no common etymology, even though they are marvelous for poetry.

The early Roman soldiers when it came to name the same people that had settled Carthage did not make the effort their betters made when trying to pronounce Greek names and sounded Phoenikoi like Punici, simplifying the very peculiar Greek ph into p rather than into f. By regressive derivation they likened the word to their own poena, a punishment, and to the verb punire, but there is no common etymology.

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2 thoughts on “Last Word on Phoenicians, Phonetics, Etc.”

  1. Yes, they were actually the Jews (better said : there never was any break of continuity between the Biblical Jews and the people of Phoenicia-Canaan, the difference between both came to be known only much later through books, those who lived the real Biblical epos never considered themselves of a different nationality or race or even or creed than the ones they were supposedly at extermination war with, they considered themselves part of a vendetta and oppositional clan like so many others, YHWH being a war-god among so many possible others).

    These “Jews” if you may call them so remote-controlled the transformation of Greece from a feudal warring state world into a civilized one more subservient to their interests. Some decided to mate physically with the local women, to rape them actually, so as to produce a somewhat superior master race (of second rank) that would act as their bodyguards and bailiffs throughout Greece and also throughout the Eastern Empires they would subdue with their help as perpetually enraged warriors. Thus was Spartan civilization born.

    Some other Jews decided to format some other Greeks mentally by encouraging them into carefully wrought patterns of seducing behaviour of the kind most contrary to the biological nature of non-submitting Greeks so as to make the whole nation more and more decadent and powerless as regards the defence of their own interests. Thus was Athenian “democratic” civilization born.

    Actually, no one could be an Athenian citizen without having undergone the “agôgê” which was homosexual, better said hebephiliac in nature under the good care of a mentor. The process of initiation was not meant for pleasure but for mind control, so as to make sure the guys that participated in the “democratic” thing all thought the same thoughts as imposed by remote control through the formation of mentors at a higher level by the “Jews” themselves (Phoenicians). Such a political system was not devised to empower the people but on the contrary to make sure the real decision process should remain perfectly anonymous, emanating as from the Olympus.

    Thus Athens was not the cradle of democracy as we dream of it (only 6000 at the very most partook of the great annual Assembly on a population of about 600 000 in the whole territory of Attica and its near dependencies) but of fatalism (anankê) as epitomized by the great Tragedians : once you had been mentally formatted that way through your “agôgê, the rest of your life was remote control by a program you had absolutely no say about and were supposed to conceive as emanating from super-human beings according to the best interests of the powers who hired the fiction writers of mythological narratives.

    A few thinkers here and there tried to crack that Matrix, Socrates and Plato being the most renowned, to very little avail, all what history has retained about them was that they were aristocratic minds opposed to democracy, whereas they tried to make the mental effort of exposing and elucidating one the most perfect totalitarian societies humanity has ever known, a system based upon remote mind control through state pedophilia.

    Of course I am greatly over-simplifying the matter (first, Athens was not so important as its cultural repute would later on picture to have been, there were many other cities), it would take books and books to furnish all the relevant details about the civilizing of Greeks by aliens to Greeks of the kind we would nowadays call Jews and were then called Phoinikai, but the same idea as exposed here in a caricatural form is presented in a work by Plato entitled “ho Phoinikos Muthos” (the great Phoenician narrative).

    Phoinikai has no relationship to phonein (oi, pronounced u as in gurgle or as in occupy, never results from the transformation of an o or from the addition of something like a iota to an o in Greek, it is a false diphthong invented, and introduced at quite late date by Ionians, not to encumber the alphabet with all symbols necessary for each sound, even though they had added the omega). But if you like real linguistic derivations few people think about, here is a very real and relevant one : the harbour of Piraeus was given its name from the Greek verb peiresthai (deponent conjugation) which means “to try (a vessel)” or better said “to try attacking”, which has given the agent-name “peirates” (pirate) and also our more learned derived word “empirical” (as though as accumulating booty from venture to venture, or later on from trial to trial). This is a very clear illustration that the said port by the fortune of which the whole state of Attica thrived was a pirate beacon and little else, an arrogant little rogue state in modern parlance. The main advantage in having such a pirate base in Athens rather than elsewhere was the city’s being built onto a huge lode of very concentrated silver ore, the Laurion, they had infinite money supply in Rothschildian parlance (under Phoenician control). When they say Athena, the city’s saint patron, was the protector of wisdom and arts, don’t fall into the highbrow trap : Athêna was the deity of Mêtis-Sophia, which essentially then meant cunning, deceifulness and cleverness as is needed in war and commerce, and of technai, which then did not mean the fine arts but the art of playing dirty tricks. Even the word philosophos first meant someone who loved tactical intellect for its own sake rather than for immediate gain (as happened most often), as for instance in board games, not somebody who loved wisdom as it would mean quite later on.

    The word democracy has also a quite strange origin and had no relationship whatsoever with the modern dream associated to that word. The word “dêmos” just didn’t mean the people, unless you are intent on subscribing to a long tradition of conventional translation (mostly to translate Athenian notions into Christian humanistic sentimental concepts, something very, very mistaken). Dêmos is, together with daimôn (destiny, and also the guardian spirit of destiny as imparted by Heavens), regularly derived as resultative and possessive from the verb daiomai, which means to part, to divide, to subdivide, to discriminate, and also to impart, to select through apartheid. The nearest sounding word in common English would be “the party”, or “the class”, or “the in-group”. It then could not mean anything else than a very select class of people selected to a quite costly and difficult initiation process. Another meaning of dêmos was also a piece of land, a region as defined by arbitrary political partition, a district, and the first use of the term “democracy” by Solon merely meant that the people would be grouped by arbitrary territorial division and no longer by natural kinship or friendship, so as to make the individual alone and without intermediate instances facing the state, before Cleisthenes reused the word to mean the selection of a class of people entitled to benefits. The only case when it could mean common people, cultivators in Homer’s work was in the countryside for people being born on a range or other land partition, but that could not at all be the case in such a conceited city as Athens. The people at large could be called by many other words in Greek, such as ethnos, and laos, or “pollakeia”. “Dêmos” could never be used outside the realm of power politics, like in “the good people of Merry Arcadia” or in “popular culture and music”. Only later on as the language semantics would shift, especially in Roman times, was “dêmos” to mean a more general and also more abstract collection of people as considered in late Roman constitutional law and early ecclesiastical doctrine. The concept of a city in principle ruled by or at least for the common good of most people as epitomized by Lincoln did exist in the classical Greek language though, the term was Laodikeia, i.e., where the common people vote and judge, whence the name of a beautiful city in Asia Minor, the capital of Phrygia, Laodicea, which was indeed a real and long-lasting adventure in popular government that lasted up to the very physical ruin of the city.

    Aristotle, whom I don’t like very much but did not lie too much as others did in a culture so rife with mythomania, and would identify with the learned upper middle class than only with the very powerful, did not put democracy among the positive forms of government. To him, a Greek city could be ruled by one, ruled by a few countable ones known by all, and by a greater uncountable and anonymous number, which didn’t mean at all it was the people at large in any way. Aristotle would have classified the antebellum Southern regime where about only 2-5% , the landowning class, bothered to discuss any decision, or the present-day Republican ideal of a country for the 1%, as pure democracy, not oligarchy as we call it. An oligarchy he would have called only Venice where about one or two hundred big personalities know by all took all the decisions. For Aristotle, the main concern was not whether the ruling ones were one, few or many, but whether they felt morally indebted to the whole or cared about their own only. Monarchy meant a city ruled by a generous king, quite as a work of art, as opposed to tyranny which meant absolute government for power’s sake. Aristocracy meant a city ruled by a few ones having real concern for maintaining values, as opposed to oligarchy which rather meant a junta ruling for its own enrichment. Timocracy, also called meritocracy in our more bastardized English, meant government by an upper class of the most capable as determined by their contributions or by examinations, as opposed to democracy which meant the same number of persons considering their political rights as mere entitlements by birth or by homosexual network recruitment that in the later history of Athens ended up being bought and sold like any merchant goods. Aristotle considered Laodikeia, though posively, as possible only in non-Greek, barbarian lands, outside what he considered a civilization worthy of the name, only in far away lands without any desire to perfect arts and sciences, as opposed to ochlocracy or mob rule as the ultimate terminal state of any city, where the greater number behaved as a blood-thirsty beast at the command of organized crime.

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