Phoenician Phonetics

As a linguist I should probably not even be asking this question, but as all Western alphabets are probably ultimately derived from the ancient Phoenician alphabet from the Levant, have you ever considered that the term “phonetic alphabet” may also be rooted in “Phoenician alphabet?” I am also wondering if such words as phonetics, phones, phonology, etc. are also derived from the word “Phoenician.” I suppose I could look it up, but I’m too lazy at the moment, so I will fob it off on one of you.

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8 thoughts on “Phoenician Phonetics”

  1. The Phoenicians are the original Happy Merchants, many of the jewish stereotypes first appear with them, they controlled the Meditterranean trade and praticed child sacrifice.

    The Phoenician language was no different from hebrew, the Samaritans in Palestine still use the Phoenician alphabet in their Bible (older than the jewish Bible).

    The jews from North Africa and Southern Europe are probably descendats of the Phoenicians.

  2. 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 a 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 known 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 diphtong (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 paased 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 colour 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 Phoenician 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 symnbol 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.

  3. I’m gonna fob one back and ask what you think of the whole “Phoenician phonetics conspiracy”. All I know is there’s a guy on YouTube who delights in highlighting various apparent contradictions in English, such as greeting each other with “Good mo(u)rning”. It has that conspiracy feel because he seems to be implying that some Phoenician dictionary editor conspired to entwine these contradictions with the malicious intention to trick us into grieving when actually, the sun is shining and hey, we found our pants on the floor in time to leave the house in a state approximating dignity.

    I dunno how I feel about it, but one instance that has been weirding me out lately is that in Australia where we tend to shorten phrases like “bottle shop” to words like “bottle-o”, in the broader English-speaking community we have lengthened something else to greet each other with “hell-o”. As if to say, “Surprise! Welcome to the Cosmic Joke.”

    What on Earth do you suppose that’s about!? Serious question (that is, I’m not taking the piss).

  4. I had a teacher in high school tell us that this was the case. Seems I have been learning a lot of stuff lately that does not agree with the education I very recently (within the last 10 years) received. At least math is still the same, right??

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