Origins of the Alphabet

The English alphabet we know of today was not created by an individual at one point in time. It evolved over centuries through many different civilizations.  

More than five hundred years ago, cuneiform or hieroglyphics were discovered in the Middle East. These symbolic pictures represented entire words, but it was difficult to memorize and replicate thousands of hieroglyphics. So simpler symbols were created to represent individual sounds, or letters, with combinations that could form all the words of a language. 

The Proto-Sinaitic script consisting of twenty-two symbols was adapted from Egyptian hieroglyphics and is considered the first alphabetic writing system. It was developed in the Middle East around 1700 BCE and was refined and spread by the Phoenicians (modern-day Lebanon). It continued to be modified and adapted to different languages and civilizations including the Greeks and Romans. 

Throughout history, many different alphabets have been created and used around the world. Today, the English alphabet consists of twenty-six letters. Who knows, maybe in the future, new letters will be added and others removed! Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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