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- 1 there are no inline refs right now so I'm not even sure where to start
- 2 Script Merger
- 3 Gulch of terror!
- 4 mergers, terminology
- 5 PS vs PC
- 6 Table of forms
- 7 Requested move
- 8 File:Proto-semiticK-01.svg Nominated for Deletion
- 9 "A Proper View of Arabic, Semitic, and More"
- 10 Literacy in Pre-Buddhist India
there are no inline refs right now so I'm not even sure where to start
Since this entire article lacks inline citations, it is impossible for a non-expert to even guess the level of acceptance of a given statement or even determine if it is original research- I would suggest the experts go through and do this first and include anything that can be documented and hopefully most arguments then come down to adjectives ("widely accepted" versus "some think" etc). From what I gather, this article is on a class of early alphabet with 2 members, that much does not seem to be in debate. Are there more possible members or is this much accepted and by which sources? The data on which most of the article is based includes a few archalogical finds and probably some independently known information. Only a few people have worked on this topic and there seems to be controversy within the relevant communities about what is likely to be right. The immediate concern is about including the above table which may or may not be helpful in understanding current thought on the topic of "Middle Bronze Age Alphabets." I guess first if this table can be attributed and made relevant- has it been citted by other reliable secondary sources in the field to make realted points?- it would be worth including somewhere. But, since none of the rest of the article has inline citations, it is hard to tell how well the rest of the field is presented. So, maybe it would be easier to take what exists, or even put the table back in, and just start documenting sentence by sentence each claim made- which sources believe this which dispute it. As an analogy, consider even something like Creation Science where the entire topic is held as being without merit by many. It has a page and theories along with criticisms are included. The point here is to document who has stated what ideas not settle arguments- presumably a wikipedia reader may want to use wiki as a starting point for doing that or something similar but we have no way to evaluate merit here. Nerdseeksblonde (talk) 12:35, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
- The WEH stuff was derived primarily from newspaper accounts, blogs, and websites. A few years ago that was IMO acceptable, as there wasn't anything else to go on. However, I think there's now been enough time for publication and response by the academic community. I agree with Michael that the material should be rewritten to reflect peer-reviewed accounts, assuming we can find them. kwami (talk) 18:50, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
- What? : So, can you guys tell me why you let the US government hide the ark of the covenant after all that effort you put into getting it from the Nazi's? LOL. I have heard stories in passing about how slow some of this work goes- I think in regards to one of the "recent" scripture finds- but still there have to be sources somewhere. I'm not sure that an expert blog from an institution would be inadmissable, compared to anon blog from a social site, but this would have to be a wikipedia call as it starts becoming "current events" rather than encyclopedic stuff ( " I'll translate the scrolls once my secretary gets the coffee pot moved so I can set up blah blah blah"). I guess if the newspapers mention certain artifacts that makes them notable and presumably you could piece together an article with related information avoiding any synthesis or OR. With medical lit, wikipedia recommends going to primary sources due to newspapers essentially not being reliable ( my use of term) and it would seem this topic could be similar. Presumably if you can convince anyone here there is encyclopedic merit to the topic tentative or speculative results may be ok- certainly with theories of consciousness wikipedia has let some very tenuous ( but somewhat reviewed ) theories make it because there isn't anything better. Of course, many would argue about the peer review at Creation Science groups but again the issue is reliability for the topic, not the soundness of the conclusion. I guess from what I've seen blogs from experts, if that is all that is available, may be ok but it would certainly help to put inline citations and we can take a look. Nerdseeksblonde (talk) 20:04, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
- Nah man, the Ark's in Ethiopia... The thing is, the blog's we're talking about are not affiliated with anything. Colless's blog is interesting, but it is distinctly a Biblical-polemic (he admitted this to me, and I used his citation of Isaiah (that he sent me as support for one of his blah blah blah) to show that the grammar and word choices he used aren't even relevant to early Hebrew. These are not experts, they're Orientalists: relevant to an article about early 20th century Orientalist polemicists but not so much to scientific progress on these two unrelated sets of inscriptions. I put in all sorts of "citations needed" requests, and I expect all of this to be reverted... Why would I bother going beyond that if I can't even keep the citation requests in, lol. Screw it, I'm going to Ethiopia to look for the Ark. Michael Sheflin (talk) 20:10, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
- As a logical justification, imagine this: "These mines were worked by prisoners of war from southwest Asia who presumably spoke a West Semitic language, such as the Canaanite that was ancestral to Phoenician. The Serabit el-Khadim inscriptions were found in a temple of Hathor (ḥatḥor), and appear to be votive texts."
- I did a google search for Serabit el-Khadim (in Arabic to avoid transliteration confusion) and I found that most links default on Wiki information... So... given that that is the case, how exactly do we know that Canaanite was spoken there. To one up myself just now, if these scripts cannot be translated definitively, and the characters can't even be definitively identified, how do we know (based on the inscriptions found) that these are in Canaanite. Let me once again one up myself; there is no reference I could easily find about a Temple of Hathor, and additionally since these cannot be translated (beyond l-b3lt) then how exactly COULD anyone claim they are votive texts!? Michael Sheflin (talk) 20:13, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Though my personal inclinations suggest that the Proto-Sinaitic and Wadi el-Hol languages and scripts are divergent, the scholarship has published no such division. The book (The Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia ed. by Woodward, the article by Hamilton (2002), and by Darnell et al (2005)) all imply that the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions are considered part of the Proto-Sinaitic script. My own correspondences with Darnell have confirmed this (attitude on 'their' part). Thus, until I (inshallah) publish my article, there is no scholarly source offering evidence that the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions form a script, they only form an earlier 'extension' of the earlier-discovered Proto-Sinaitic corpus. This poses a problem for the organization of the article. Michael Sheflin (talk) 09:24, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
- In anticipation of being forced to justify or cite that claim (that I am in fact highly against), please see ed. Woodward, 2008: 3. Michael Sheflin (talk) 09:35, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Gulch of terror!
- I believe that's what the epigrapher's claimed, but I'll look into it. (Sorry, WP wouldn't accept an edit summary.) الهول is "the Sphinx", but I thought they name began with an ح. kwami (talk) 01:19, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- Lane's dict in the supplement has a derivative of هول as "terrible", so this seems reasonable. kwami (talk) 01:49, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- I too got sphinx and therefore speculated that a better translation might be "Valley of the sphinx", though I imagine "terrible valley" (cf. Badlands) might be more accurate for the era. "Gulch of terror" sounds more like somewhere Bugs Bunny might have come across while evading Elmer Fudd. Astronaut (talk) 01:58, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- So far I have:
- According to the Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, هول is vocalized hawl, and means "terror, fright, alarm" etc. It's abu-l-hawl which means "sphinx"... AnonMoos (talk) 04:18, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- Don't know that our transcription is necessarily wrong, though. Getting into OR. kwami (talk) 08:13, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- So far I have:
- Guys... If you intend to employ Arabic as non-native researchers in a forum outside Wiki discussions (and hence, want to not be laughed out of the chairs you're sitting in) you should really get a Hans Wehr dictionary. I am unsure who Lane is... and I'm pretty sure everyone else would also be. 'Derivations' of roots are evidence but not proof. Hol (هول) means "terror, fright, alarm, shock, horror, dismay; power (abu al-Hol (abu-l-hol) is the sphinx, ya l-l-hol means how terrible). pl ahwal (ed. Cowan, 1994: 1217) [Hans-Wehr]. This is a really useful debate given that the state of the article is so antithetical to the academic research on the topic (although that research is garbage so maybe the article is better); I guess we should probably agree on Arabic transliteration and translation techniques before we move on to content... Although, the article is already written. What is "The Dictionary of Modern Arabic?" Michael Sheflin (talk) 16:57, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
- I'm sorry, I misunderstood this debate entirely (and AnonMoos, sorry I also just realized that obviously was Hans-Wehr). I think I had read somewhere that like with the site of Amarna, the name of Wadi el-Hol may have been synthetically constructed (for the site of the rock spur) in relation to a nearby site, since this particular site does not have a standard name in Egypt (like it would not show up on Egyptian maps). At Amarna, the name was taken from Bani 3mran, which I presume through metathesis became Amarna, though the site itself is not clearly related to that tribe. I may be synthesizing two different things here, but I will try to find that citation to Wadi el-Hol being a synthetic name to help catalog that site. Michael Sheflin (talk) 19:38, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't see anything wrong with "gulch of terror". If there is anything unusual, it's "gulch", translating "wadi", but I suppose that's at least as good as "valley". Telling people to look up Wehr after they have just cited Lane is a bit of a joke, too. --dab (𒁳) 07:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I am all for merging poorly referenced article into a single article as a first step in cleaning things up. However, this doesn't mean that all titles that end up pointing to the main article are synonyms.
This article used to be called "Middle Bronze Age alphabets", which was a rather well-informed choice, because it proposed to treat recent discoveries of alphabetic writing that predate 1500 BC. These are very rare scattered inscriptions, and it makes sense to treat them together instead of keeping one stub per inscription.
By now, the article essentially treats "Bronze Age alphabets", i.e. covering the entire period of 1900 to 1100 BC. We need to realize that this 800 year period doesn't encompass anything like a single script, but a gradual evolution we can trace based on a handful of inscriptions. The way I understand it, we need to distinguish
- earliest inscriptions, as it were "proto-alphabetic". This is the Wadi el-Hol material
- the "Proto-Sinaitic" or "Proto-Semitic" scripts of the Late Bronze Age. These are something like the earliest standardised alphabetic writing, ancestral to both Canaanite and South Arabian scripts
- the "Proto-Canaanite" scripts from the eve of the Bronze Age collapse. These are diretly ancestral to Phoenician, but not to South Arabian
I am not an expert in this and I am not sure I've got this right, but I have doubts whether it is correct to introduce the terminology as "Proto-Sinaitic, called Proto-Canaanite when found in Canaan". There may be a diachronic twist to this. --dab (𒁳) 13:37, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
- I am quite confused as to what "Proto-Canaanite" is supposed to mean. I had always thought that it was simply Phoenician before ca. 1050 BCE. However, the reconstructions (?) I've seen of it have always been a distinct pictographic rather than abstract script. Recent refs I have found state that this is the essential diff between them, not the date. (There is, eg, "Phoenician" from 1200 BCE.) The cited ref states clearly that pC is just pSinaitic in Canaan; AFAIK no-one treats these as separate scripts, and part of the discussion above was that it's OR for us to present them in that way (at least for el-Hol and Serebit, of which BAR now (Mar 2010) says that Serabit is the older). Also, BAR states that as long as the script was pictographic, there was a lot of individual variation, but little temporal evolution; that took off when the letters were no longer anchored in the pix they derived from. kwami (talk) 13:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
- I am also confused. The reference I just cited (Healy) on a single page first says Proto-Canaanite is the same as Proto-Sinaitic, and then goes on to discuss Proto-Canaanite inscriptions of the 13th to 11th centuries as opposed to the earlier Proto-Sinaitic stage. I think the terminology is just fuzzy because the entire process of development isn't really known in any detail.
- an important point would be the A-B-G order which is absent in the Middle Bronze Age, but present in Canaan by 1400 BC or so. In my understanding, "Proto-Canaanite" in the narrow sense would be the first alphabet which had its letters ordered in the A-B-G sequence, because all later Canaanite abjads inherited this feature. I don't know which is the earliest testimony for this, but the Ugaritic alphabet has it, and the South Arabian ones do not. While the South Arabian script may just have lost the original order, We could take this as evidence that the A-B-G seems to have emerged very close to the Middle-to-Late Bronze Age boundary, in either the 16th or the 15th century. --dab (𒁳) 08:53, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
- But do we know anything about any order for pS? Also, I thought Ugaritic has been found w both northern and southern orders.
- If there is truly ambiguity between pC = pictographic script of Canaan and pC = abstract early Phoenician, then perhaps we can make the pC a dab page linking both here and to Phoenician alphabet. kwami (talk) 13:47, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
- (No PS abacedary, has been (proven to be) found, to my knowledge.) FYI both of you, on my seemingly irrational viewpoint. Kwami, I noticed that you added this "^ baʿlat (Lady) is a title of Hathor and the feminine of the title Baʿal (Lord) given to the Semitic god" on March 10. Although strictly speaking this is (though true) neither cited nor a reference, this information is citable from the 2005 Darnell et al publication (among a great many others).
- When I added (I don't exactly remember why) that RBT was the feminization of RB - a title for lord as well as a verb form for "(to be) great" you (Kwami) reverted this and told me that the source I cited was disreputable because its (dead) founder was apparently controversial in your mind; I had never heard of him and don't remember his name. May I again point out that the Tower of Babel is run with representatives/participants from:
"The Russian State University of the Humanities (Center of Comparative Linguistics) The Moscow Jewish University The Russian Academy of Sciences (Dept. of History and Philology) The Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico, USA) The City University of Hong Kong The Leiden University" (http://starling.rinet.ru/babel.php?lan=en)
- This is part of the reason I gave up thinking I could impact the page, particularly since a few days ago in his [Kwami] own words he acknowledged that since some of the information I added was ridiculous to him he didn't trust me and therefore cast a watchful eye over all my edits; my version of that is that you [Kwami] actually just reverted all my edits before last month without looking at them.
- Let me first point out that contrary to whatever it is (Kwami) you have implied, I am not seeking any changes - certainly not particular ones, I have simply pointed out that impulsive editing without good access to resources is not necessarily helpful (or necessarily not helpful). My advice remains the same: debates on substance should be first discussed before being executed - particularly since until dab joined you were basically the only one allowing yourself to do this. My advice was pretty consistently ignored; and when you thought you were making "my changes" you were surprised that I was still obstinate (how odd).
- Therefore, I have relegated myself to an oppositional position as critic. I apologize if you find this unhelpful, but I have (in one sense) not been able to get a word in edgewise, otherwise. It should also be noted that Ba'lat, as worshiped at Serabit al-Khadem is explicitly in reference to Ba'lat Gebel (The Lady of Byblos) (not totally on task but see Darnell et al 2005, 89).
- Also dab, the idea that the any of the "man" characters refer to non-vocalized determinants is possible (ibid 81). However, this idea has its origin in early 20th century interpretations of PS (Serabit) inscriptions for the "exultant man" character. The Darnell et al publication essentially conflates the two characters, but still leaves open the question of phonemic value (ibid) and also acknowledges that there is no analogue [to the one arm up, one down character] at Serabit (ibid). Once again, simply replacing information from one reputable journal with a "newer" one is not the best approach. Additionally, reorganizing without access to all the available information is a decidedly poor approach. I am absolutely not an expert, but I have spoken (electronically) with virtually everyone working on this and tangential projects. I have spent over a year studying this extremely narrow issue - and I have come to the conclusion that 1) there is quite a great deal of complexity, 2) almost no academics know anything about Wadi el-Hol after 11 years.
- To obliterate this complexity and imply certainty - particularly without meeting standards of verifiability - is also silly. Meaning exists in a system, and "without a conclusive decipherment of these inscriptions, however, the question must remain open" (ibid) [regarding the issue of determinative/phoneme]. I am not espousing that the 70 page translation I am working on is correct, but I have provided (without a single exception) a fully linear one that ignores the silly concept of linear determinatives (there are at least three above and below both inscriptions).
- I have to go back to the US in a week and a half, and after I get back I will finally go to Wadi el-Hol. Thereafter, I will take photographs that will show how poorly the current scholarship has dealt with these subjects. I will also make my photographs available to the public domain so that the drawings currently posted will (quite literally) become irrelevant - and worse almost certainly increasingly be seen as ignorant of crucial paleographic details. The photographs are not OR, but until I publish everything else is. I asked Darnell verbatim in an email 2 or 3 months ago why they ignored the vaginal slit on the "ankh" depiction and am still awaiting a response - but presumably goddess-depictions, rather than non-anthropomorphic ankhs have such vaginal marks. Still, my point is that dealing with this issue for a few hours a month will not lead to fruitful conceptualization. Since I can find no recognition after dealing with it obsessively for a year, I find it difficult to believe that you will outpace me (solely on Wadi el-Hol not on any other related issues). And without that conceptualization radical revisions of the article are best left to discussion (at least first) rather than unmitigated action. Michael Sheflin (talk) 20:16, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
- I will be very grateful for such images in the PD. Hopefully, the inscriptions will be perceptible in any detail, which is not really easy to achieve in photographs. Ideal would be rubbings. Since we already do have links to decent non-free photographs, I do not think the drawings can be completely off.
- I will also be grateful for your continued scepticism here, I think we all agree that the article is in a mess and we are not sure how to improve it responsibly.
- But frankly, I do not think that the Wadi el-Hol material is very crucial to this article. It is much more important to get a decent overview of the Late Bronze Age inscriptions, the scope of the terms "pC" nd "pS", and a decent overview of what is established in scholarship. Recent discoveries are nice, but they are nice in a "this just in" journalistic sense. We cannot base this article on speculations on what the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions may or may not be. --dab (𒁳) 15:54, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
- Wow... amazing when civility and rationality can reenter without warning. You're absolutely correct. The problem is that the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions - because of their exceptional location if nothing else - need to be situated within the broader system. Whatever they are, or are not, there needs to be an explanation for what they are and why they are different or the same from the temporally analogous examples in the north (of me... of them...). And whatever that or those explanations that end up being justified are will inform the importance of their integration within the broader system of meaning PS, or Bronze Age etc.
- I think also if you look at the pics available from the West Semitic Research Center (like ... really carefully) you'll find the drawings are already irrelevant - I am simply saying that the pictures I take will concentrate on the elements I have picked out as being ignored.
- On the final point, 11 years is a bit long for journalists to wait and say 'this just in' lol. Nevertheless, you are correct. I also generally agree that the article in its new incarnation as simply PS does basically obliterate the original point of the article. I don't have a particularly good answer to that. I tried to impress upon Kwami throughout that I was not seeking specific additions, simply an attempt to reconcile the information in publication with the article. I continuously stated that my goal was basically to spur discussion and not edits, but this somehow became an issue of certain points that (he... I'd prefer to make this less personal) took as rational or valid were incorporated without respect to the broader structure from which they were taken. This is my point about Lane or open-source (my terminology is probably poor, sorry) stuff limits one's ability to, for instance, read a whole book. In that case, it's easy to create a simple picture because the complexity is lost with the pages blocked out by copyright.
- FYI, in case you have any interest. If you look above the left (from 'our' perspective) horn of the aleph in the Vertical inscription there is an Egyptian god-determinative (looks like a flag); and above the right horn is a weird triangle. A similar triangle (but connected to a fuller-depicted character) exists below the 2nd and 3rd characters in the horizontal inscription that is quite close to (what was at the time taken as) a monogram for D_T (an Arabian term for goddess - literally "she of") published by Albright and Jamme in 1955. This was my point about the determinatives. The "exultant man" determinative - which is now in PS recognized as H - was in the 20s and 30s sometimes taken in the same way the "other man" character was suggested to be taken by you (as well as other publications, that was not intended as an indictment, sorry). My point in this context, although here I actually also have my own point, is that the situation is not simple and therefore adding information without citations is a poor process. You are correct, organization should take precedence. Michael Sheflin (talk) 17:18, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
PS vs PC
I missed an obvious point here. Pg. 3 of Woodward (2008) refers to the script - PC is an extension of PS that is seen in Canaan later - this is the growing academic assumption. PC, however, is also an archaic form of Phoenician linguistically. There's no contradiction; PS appears to be linguistically more similar to Ugaritic.
So, no contradiction; PC is both the paleographic extension of PS and the linguistic predecessor of Phoenician. Can't believe I missed that distinction.
(This also speaks pretty strongly to my point about why not translating these inscriptions makes it inappropriate to assume their linguistic content on a paleographic basis - which, Kwami is a similar point to the one you made about the Arabic inclusion in the table - language != script.) Michael Sheflin (talk) 11:09, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
- sorry... epigraphically. true, "we" are discussing "scripts;" however, really we are discussing grouped trends of inscriptions. these inscriptions must be translated to have any meaning. to make it really simple, the languages portrayed by the proto-canaanite inscriptions are just that... proto-canaanite, pre-phoenician punic dialects. paleographically, academics have decided they are extensions of the proto-sinaitic script paleographically. epigraphically PS are more controversial, but given the orthographies of these inscriptions, they appear to more closely resemble a northwest syrian rather than palestinian/canaanite dialect. hence, there is a difference between orthography/epigraphy on the one hand and paleography on the other. the wadi inscriptions notable differ, paleographically, from the proto-sinaitic inscriptions at least in what has been called the "man determinative;" also the "B" does not pop up again apparently until proto-canaanite; i.e. it is not present in (AFAIK) any of the proto-sinaitic inscriptions (though if it is present in any it is not as common as the prototype without the middle cross-line (i.e. an open box). Michael Sheflin (talk) 23:36, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Table of forms
The following table of forms was taken from the confused page Proto-Canaanite alphabet. I placed it here because the letters are closest to Proto-Sinaitic. Kwami requested that I remove it on the grounds that the signs shown are not Proto-Sinaitic. I think I see what Kwami means. The forms are a bit sketchy, and they were probably drawn with the goal of showing an alphabet correspondence rather than loyalty to the data. But some of them are fairly good representations of Proto-Sinaitic. I think a table makes a big improvement to the article, so I would like to either find one that works or modify this one so that it's accurate and reliable. Perhaps we could take this table and remove the signs that Goldwasser does not include in the table in her article (I don't think we can use her table because it's not fair use). Thoughts?Rppeabody (talk) 01:02, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
|Proto-Sinaitic||Phoenician||Value and name||Descendants|
|ʼ ʾalp "ox"||א Α A ا|
|b bet "house"||ב Β B ب|
|g gaml "throwstick"||ג Γ C-G ج|
|d digg "fish"||ד Δ D ذ-د|
|h haw / hll "hurrah"||ה Ε E ه Є|
|w waw "hook"||ו
|z zen /ziqq "handcuff"||ז Ζ Z ز З|
|ḥ ḥet "courtyard"||ח Η H خ-ح|
|;||ṭ ṭēt "wheel"||ט Θ ظ-ط Ѳ|
|y yad "arm"||י Ι I-J ي|
|k kap "hand"||כ Κ K ك|
|l lamd "goad"||ל Λ L ل|
|m mem "water"||מ Μ M م|
|n naḥš "snake"||נ Ν N ن|
|s samek "fish"||ס Ξ X Ѯ|
|ʻ ʿen "eye"||ע Ο O غ-ع|
|p piʾt "bend"||פ Π P ف|
|ṣ ṣad "plant"||צ ϻ ص-ض ц|
|q qup "monkey"||ק Ϙ Q ق Ҁ|
|r raʾs "head"||ר Ρ R ر|
|š/ś šimš "sun, the Uraeus"||ש Σ S ش-س Ш|
|t taw "signature"||ת Τ T ث-ت|
- AFAIK, these aren't taken from proto-Sinaitic inscriptions, although they may have been inspired by them. Rather, they are reconstructions of what someone imagined the ancestor of Phoenician may have looked like. That doesn't seem very encyclopedic to me. IMO we should present the actual data on PS, and the actual data on Phoenician. I don't mind schematic averages of the actual inscriptions, which is what are normally presented in RS's, but AFAIK that is only available for Phoenician.
- There's a lot of other OR going on here, too. Take N, which the table says is naḥš "snake". In Phoenician, however, it was nūn "fish". Naḥš comes instead from Ethiopic, but AFAIK it's only attested from the 16th century AD! There's no way to know if it actually dates back to PS, and Phoenician was innovative, or if it was renamed in Ethiopia because it looked snake like, but people have argued for the latter. Yet we simply present the completely unattested PS naḥš "snake" as a fact. — kwami (talk) 01:30, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- That's really interesting about naḥš. (Goldwasser cites it in her article!) I agree that a lot of these forms are inspired. However, the fact remains that some of them do represent Proto-Sinaitic forms pretty faithfully. Below I have selected six of these from the table, replacing the bet with a closed square, which is more accurate. Each of the forms I have selected are attested by Goldwasser and included in her comparison table (yes, I know BAR is not always a rock-solid source), and I have personally seen each one in images of Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions. I think including a table is a BIG improvement to the article. Without it, you can't really see what the alphabet theory is all about. And let's face it: The alphabet theory is by far the most notable thing about Proto-Sinaitic. I admit my edited table isn't perfect, but it's way better than nothing. Of course, if anyone can find a better table, that would be ideal.Rppeabody (talk) 02:20, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- Kwamigami -- Many of the forms in the first column of the table above are from the "Proto-Semitic alphabet"[sic] font which is distributed by a small and somewhat strange religious grouping which advocates as a matter of religious belief for a number of views which have not found scholarly acceptance. Feel free to be ruthless in purging the "Proto-Semitic alphabet"[sic] font glyphs from Wikipedia articles... AnonMoos (talk) 22:21, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- All files with names of the form Proto-semiticX-01.svg are glyphs from the font distributed by the obscure religious group. If they happen to represent accurately the real proto-Sinaitic forms, then well and good -- but if they don't, then they should be purged with a heavy hand from all Wikipedia articles... AnonMoos (talk) 12:18, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
|Proto-Sinaitic||Phoenician||Phoen. value||Phoen. name||Descendants|
|ʼ.||ʾalp "ox"||א Α A ا|
|b.||bet "house"||ב Β B ب|
|k||kap "hand"||כ Κ K ك|
|m||mem "water"||מ Μ M م|
|ʻ||ʿen "eye"||ע Ο O غ-ع|
|r||raʾs "head"||ר Ρ R ر|
- About the letter R (which is the first letter of "rosh" = head)- "head" should be pronounced as "rosh" and not "ras" - look at the values "Resh" (in the part - "Origins of Resh") and "Phoenician alphabet". So i'm changing "raʾs" in the above table to "roʾš".Regular wiki user (talk) 12:16, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
- Regular_wiki_user -- Rosh comes from a language or dialect affected by the Canaanite vowel shift, while Rash would be a form from a language or dialect not affected by the shift. The lengthening of the vowel is compensation for the loss of the glottal stop sound in syllable coda, but the relative chronology of this aleph-loss and Canaanite vowel shift is actually not entirely clear... AnonMoos (talk) 19:20, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
- I think that would be acceptable (a) in the alphabet-theory section, (b) if the sketches match the inscriptions, and (c) if we note these are the Phoenician values and names, not PS.
- As for the History of the alphabet article, that clearly labels these as "Hypothetical ancestral forms". I don't have a problem with that; my problem lies in claiming these hypothetical ancestral forms are actual PS letters. — kwami (talk) 03:12, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- I don't feel like reading this whole section but those are not Phoenician characters (to my knowledge). I assume they are 'interpreted' variants from the Proto-Sinaitic corpus, but having studied the bulk of this corpus for now almost two years I can safely say that these are at best a very poor attempt to find a representative sample of characters from either Proto-Canaanite or Proto-Sinaitic, or Phoenician. Let me note that the 'ayn in this form does most likely occur at least once and perhaps twice and the and mim occurs in this form in several places. Michael Sheflin (talk) 13:33, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
- It is also not correct that the 'ayn would have reflected an Arabic ghayn at this period of development. The phoneme was independently present in Hebrew (to quite a late point) and in Akkadian; and it begin to become paleographically conflated after the initial development of the alphabet. This is a point that will not currently find solid support in academic literature on one side or the other (in terms of the early alphabets). The phoneme did exist; but a separate character almost certainly existed prior to the Canaanite affrications also evidenced in the Ugaritic short alphabet. Michael Sheflin (talk) 13:41, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
- "It is also not correct that the 'ayn would have reflected an Arabic ghayn at this period of development." Mihael, your confusing graphemes with phonemes. Arabic ghayn and 'ayn derive from the same ancestral letter. The history of the phonemes they transcribe is another matter entirely: one is not evidence for or against the other. — kwami (talk) 08:40, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
- @Rppeabody Um, maybe eventually. Brian Colless (cryptcracker.blogspot.com) has a couple sets of tables. You're welcome to consider these public domain (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7U9QeRF3K1w/TjnUeHaN5TI/AAAAAAAAAGg/IAEznv0XA_I/s200/BlogPlate1.png ; http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SL4zacWTr7w/TjnUeGT4Y8I/AAAAAAAAAGo/6PX232aRfms/s1600/BlogPlate2.png) and I can cite the primary sources they are taken from.
- @Kwami Good point. As for graphemes, there have always been independent Ugaritic and Arabian graphemes (for North, see http://krc.orient.ox.ac.uk/aalc/images/stories/mcam_ancient_north_arabian.pdf page 496). I think the academic consensus is probably vague due to lack of evidence. My original research suggests ghayn is attested at least a half dozen times before 1200 BC including in Sinai - but this is not relevant. However, its phonemic presence and presence in Ugaritic (differentiated also in Akkadian writing from 'ayn) does kind of suggest that at best it is a controversial assumption. Having said that, because of generally flimsy acknowledgment of the orthographic distinction regarding etymology, you could probably find an author or two who flatly reject the ghayn as an original character. What I have read basically acknowledges there is not yet enough published evidence. Michael Sheflin (talk) 06:40, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- Wait, @Kwami I may have actually misunderstood your point. When you say Arabic ghayn and 'ayn derive from the same ancestral letter do you mean graphemically, orthographically, or phonetically? Because in all those cases that is not correct. Phonetically while no one can prove how ghayn was pronounced, this letter was used in Ugaritic to interchange with Z (emphatic sibilant) equivalent to Aramaic interchange of ayn and Sad(i). As for phonetics, as I have pointed out, it existed as an independent phoneme transcribed differently than ayn in cuneiform and undoubtedly voiced differently in Hebrew. It was independent graphemically in Arabian and Ugaritic. It is orthographically distinct in every Semitic language - as in you cannot generally interchange ghayn and ayn and get the same meaning - this occurs in languages that have either conflated the phonemes (as in late Hebrew) or the graphemes (as in cuneiform and Canaanite scripts). Hope that helps; the nature of the letter's ancestry is murkier because there is no logic to ayn originating paleographically as a character for both independent phonemes. But the literature has not reached a consensus - through the few tangential footnotes that even acknowledge the issue. Michael Sheflin (talk) 07:41, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- Ugaritic and Arabic are two different scripts. Having an etymologically independent grapheme for ghayn in Ugaritic doesn't mean Arabic ghayn is also independent. As I recall, the alphabet went through languages where the 'ayn and ghayn sounds were not distinguished, so the ghayn letter was dropped, but then was adapted to Arabic where they were distinguished, so a new ghayn was created by adding a dot to 'ayn. (And quite recently: in Muhammed's time they were written the same.) Kinda like the history of gee in the western alphabet: Greek had a /g/ sound, but Etruscan did not, so the letter was pronounced /k/, and then the Romans needed a letter for /g/, so they created one by adding a stroke to /k/, giving us the letters C and G. But just because Latin had two letters for /g/ and /k/ and Greek had two letters for /g/ and /k/, and the Latin alphabet comes from the Greek, doesn't mean that Latin C comes from Greek Κ: it doesn't, it comes from Greek Γ, just as Latin G does. — kwami (talk) 08:19, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- That's interesting, I had never heard anything about ghayn being indistinct in Arabic, and this seems quite unlikely given the consistent orthographic distinctions in Semitic roots (including in Ugaritic, whose phonological system is closest to the Arabian phonological systems - or vice versa). For Arabic itself, I cannot be fully certain what the phonetic structure was - but again it seems highly unlikely that this confusion took place. If you look at its linguistically closest predecessors (that North Arabian book I posted), on page 498 Macdonald makes no mention of the ghayn being in any way conflated with ayn and simply lumps it phonetically with x (kh/5/h_) which seems phonetically appropriate through Egyptian and Akkadian transcription. So I am not certain where you have found this suggestion that ayn and ghayn are interchangeable. In Semitic orthographies they are very clearly distinguished roots. Look at the root kharam, for instance, which is supposedly the origin of the name of kh - this interchanges with gharam in some Semitic dialects (feel free to check "xrm" in Hebrew in its Northwest Semitic Context (something close to that in google books)). It would not at any stage be appropriate to consider the interchange with ayn. Their conflation is a convergence specifically resulting from Canaanite transcription - and not Canaanite phonology. This is not really relevant outside Hebrew and Aramaic; it is not even relevant in Ugaritic - so it cannot be generalized to Northwest Semitic transcription either.
- Since there was originally a point to this... That may mean it is appropriate to consider the two lumped under 'ayn in Phoenician - which is a Canaanite language. However, it is almost certain they were voiced differently so it may not be... Conversely, it is inappropriate to continue using those pictures because they are not Phoenician. So this is actually equating both ghayn and 'ayn with Proto-Sinaitic characters, which is probably not appropriate. In any event, I question the utility of a Phoenician table in this article. It seems probably distracting. If appropriate, someone should find a similar table used in a paper and just redact that - I can't remember where I've seen them. Michael Sheflin (talk) 08:46, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Msheflin -- northern Arabic script was based on borrowing 21 letters from the Aramaic alphabet (ס was not borrowed), while Arabic had at least 28 distinct consonant phonemes, so an extra seven letters had to be created through contrasts in diacritical dotting.
Also, there's strong evidence that the 22-letter Phoenician alphabet had ambiguities (i.e. a single letter used to write multiple consonant phonemes) when it was borrowed to write the Old Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew languages, but no real evidence for such ambiguities when the Phoenician alphabet was used to write the Phoenician language itself... AnonMoos (talk) 09:15, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- Yes, the fact that Arabic and Ugaritic /ɣ/ are cognate in the spoken language has nothing to do with whether the letters used to write those sounds are cognate. Again, this is a confusion of script and language. For a long time ع was used to write both ʿ and ġ. It was only to clarify the Koran that pointing was introduced to distinguish these sounds in writing. They were always distinct in speech, but not in script. — kwami (talk) 09:18, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- Yea I mean I'm happy to stop pointing this out since it is not of direct relevance to Sinaitic, but I am not speaking about Arabic - I am speaking about the two major subdivisions of Arabian writing - al-Musnad al-Ganoubi and al-Musnad al-Shamali - the South and North respectively. Based on my discussions with Macdonald and others, the actual decent of North Arabian scripts is not really well established. Both North and South are thought to have split at some point after Sinaitic writing, but when and how is not based on a consensus.
- As for the Aramaic decent... Again, the earliest full abjad (Ugaritic) includes an etymologically and orthographically separate ghayn. Kwami, my point about interchange was to show that in this script, interchange of ghayn occurred more commonly with Za'a rather than with 'ayn. The independence of the phoneme and the independence of the grapheme outside Canaanite transcription makes it certain that ghayn was phonetically differentiated; and that it may have been paleographically differentiated at the earliest point of abjadic writing. Finally, Kwami, I am not referring to the spoken language of either. We have no direct evidence of spoken Ugaritic - this is all in texts. I also am not speaking about Arabic, so the Qur'an is a late and irrelevant source. Based on Macdonald's chart, independent ghayn's have always existed. The dotting you refer to occurs after Kufic script which is specific to Arabic and about 2000 years after the North Arabian linguistic period I am describing. I'm going to hold off on future description and analysis until I submit my Wadi el-Hol paper to JNES in hopefully a few weeks; because in that I make a much more convincing case synthesizing much of the research I am trying to write down here. Michael Sheflin (talk) 09:42, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- Msheflin:- the standard accepted account is that there was a second millennium B.C. non-cuneiform alphabet (or alphabets), which is not well-understood today (excepting possibly LB`LT), but which may (in some forms) have contained 27 letters (i.e. Ugaritic minus the three "extras" obviously added later). The originally 29-letter South Arabian alphabets were an offshoot of this, as was the 22-letter Phoenician alphabet -- and the Phoenician alphabet gave rise to the Aramaic alphabet, and directly or indirectly to all the other "northwestern Semitic" alphabets, including the precursor of the Arabic alphabet we know today. I really don't understand what the details and evidence for any claim that modern Arabic comes from the ancient South Arabian alphabet would be, and no such claim should be included in any Wikipedia article without solid citation. AnonMoos (talk) 12:09, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Proto-Sinaitic alphabet → – While the script is notable primarily because of the exciting possibility that it may be an alphabet, it may turn out not be an alphabet after all. The script is simply too poorly attested to say for sure. The current name of the page implies that the alphabet hypothesis has been proven, and it hasn't been. That's why I want to rename the page Proto-Sinatic script. I couldn't move the page myself because it conflicts with a redirect page with several redirect changes in its history. It would be awesome if an administrator could move it for me.Rppeabody (talk) 02:27, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- I'll move it. There's also consistency to consider: we don't normally call abjads "alphabets" in our articles. — kwami (talk) 02:58, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
- Kwamikagami -- The terminological distinction between "abjad" and "alphabet" is very recent (not much more than 15 years old), and in the preceding centuries scholars and others were perfectly happy to call them alphabets (using the phrase "consonantal alphabet" if any greater precision was felt to be needed). Arabic alphabet and Hebrew alphabet remain under those names (and are not likely to be changed), so it's semi-pointless to change the names of the articles devoted to lesser-known scripts to include "abjad"... AnonMoos (talk) 22:16, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
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"A Proper View of Arabic, Semitic, and More"
(I'm not that big of a tool, this is the title of the article I'm attaching at the bottom...)
Alright, I should clarify something, maybe, not to be condescending at all: there are three sort of levels of analysis - paleography, orthography, and epigraphy. So the first, paleography, refers to the actual 'look' of the letters themselves - how are they written, their orientations, do they fit a broader trend, etc. The second, orthography, refers to how these identified letters fit the 'standard way of writing a word.' The third, epigraphy, refers to the linguistic connections of the language - and not script; so Hebrew was written both in Phoenician and Aramaic-inspired scripts - but the language was Hebrew.
So Kwami, when you bring up the valid example of the Latin and Greek character interchange - this is orthographic. But orthographic shifts are often patterned and so do not affect a broader orthographic reconstruction for like a language family for instance. So in contrast to IPA, which is I think phonetic in entirety; the idea of orthographic stability is that regardless of how things are 'written' or 'vocalized' letters can be reconstructed through comparative analysis of different languages' and dialects' orthographies. This is why you have patterned differences in British and American English that sometimes are phonetic or orthographic - i.e. organisation vs. organization. But when colloquial becomes written, if you were trying to determine the English word you would look at what it developed from - the dictionary word.
And this is why you get Ugaritic words written with ghayn that reflect dad or Zaa. Ghayn is sometimes written in Ugaritic, but the root - including in Ugaritic - is written properly. So, for instance, 3*lm (ghayn-lamed-mim) means "dark" in Ugaritic, but it comes from Z-l-m; and this is the Semitic reconstruction (Akkadian Salamu, etc.). Similarly the Common Semitic root S-3*-r in Akkadian is s.eheru; but the root is S-3*-r, not S-h_-r (which means 'rock'). Phonetically in Akkadian, ghayn was apparently velar or uvular. But this is not relevant to the orthographic reconstruction.
I know you probably at this point think I'm way off base and way longwinded, but check out this paper. Huehnergard is amazing, probably the most qualified Semiticist, particularly on Proto-Semitic. Rendsburg has also been pretty influential regarding cross-comparative Semitic orthographies and Proto-Semitic. Their paper may be able to say what I am clearly failing to (http://utexas.academia.edu/JohnHuehnergard/Papers/170747/2009_A_Proper_View_of_Arabic_Semitic_and_More_A_Response_to_George_Mendenhall). I think it is difficult to believe that ayin was the earliest or most intuitive transcriptional interchange - since empirically also it wasn't. And if you examine the Ugaritic orthography of the relative pronoun z (Ugaritic d ; Arabian d_ ; Akkadian $) it is difficult to believe that this was not a hugely important character up front - also independent in Ugaritic.
This one is also useful (http://utexas.academia.edu/JohnHuehnergard/Papers/170732/2008_Ugaritic_Vocabulary_in_Syllabic_Transcription_Additions_and_Corrections) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Msheflin (talk • contribs) 17:18, 11 September 2011 (UTC) sorry.. Michael Sheflin (talk) 17:23, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
- I really cannot download anything from that site, and none of your comments serve to elucidate anything whatsoever as to why anyone would ever have any reason to think that modern Arabic script was derived from ancient South Arabian alphabets, rather than from Aramaic/Nabatean... AnonMoos (talk) 01:10, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
- I really wasn't trying to say that the Arabic script derived from South or North Arabian... I actually can't remember discussing the Arabic alphabet other than to question whether its ghayn was an appropriate derivation through Phoenician 'ayn. And frankly based on your and Kwami's argumentation, maybe it was. However, my point was about the presence of ghayn in early alphabets - including Ugaritic and North and South Arabian. Did you look at that chapter on North Arabian, because the "extra" letters in this script have existed since the earliest North Arabian scripts as they likewise have in South Arabian - which is one source for Ge'ez. Keep in mind I am not referring at all to Arabic paleography, but to Ancient Arabian paleography - North and South. In addition to Ugaritic's inclusion of these characters, and their Proto-Semitic reconstruction (even excluding Arabic), it seems very unlikely that stable orthographies (very stable) would develop regardless of phonetics - and this is why you get naZeef (نظيف) versus naDeef (نظيف) or Daabit (ضابط) versus Zaabit (ضابط) in Egyptian pronunciation.
- In terms of cross-comparative Semitic orthography, the reconstructed root orthography is stable. As a result, it is empirically fallacious to claim that these were fringe characters added by some dialects - the dialects did not possess them instead possessed affricated phonemes - i.e. Akk s.abba-tu . These are defective renderings of the root (and like Heb, ص in Akkadian probably was /ts/ or /tz/ hence directly phonetically reflecting the affrication of ض &) ص & ظ). But the root of the Akkadian word is ضبط . However, to my understanding, only Arabian languages are reconstructed with a ض - paleographically - and it may not have been voiced. However, it was a distinct character so its pronunciation is totally irrelevant. This is my point about Ugaritic - it was at least contemporaneous with the earliest formalized alphabetical corpus and may have actually evolved earlier (taking Sinaitic writing not as a corpus).
- If you'd like, I would be happy to email you those articles if there is an actual problem downloading them. If there is not a problem downloading them... then you may want to read them to understand how Ancient Semitic phonetics are reconstructed and why a 22 consonant alphabet is fundamentally applicable probably only to the linguistic Canaanites following the very well known Canaanite phonetic affrications. Should the alphabet have evolved (this is work I am doing personally now) before those affrications, a 22 consonant alphabet is not logically viable as it would reflect an unnecessarily defective form of writing - as Akkadian did, for instance, because it didn't originally derive from an Akkadian phonetic understanding. Michael Sheflin (talk) 11:16, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
- That's nice -- however, there is no historically-plausible way that there could be any historically-valid connection between a Ugaritic "ghayn" written letter and the classical Arabic "ghayn" written letter other than through South Arabian, because if you try to go the Canaanite or Northwest Semitic alphabet route, then a distinct ghayn letter disappeared about a thousand years before Arabic was ever written with the Northwest Semitic alphabet. For the Ugaritic-Arabic ghayn-Letter Continuity Hypothesis, I'm afraid the alternatives are South Arabian or nothing.
- And I'm not exactly sure what you're saying, but if you're claiming that a distinctive ض phoneme (however it was pronounced) is an exclusively Arabic development (and did not go back to proto-Semitic), then you're the one who needs to brush up on basic Semitic language correspondences, because the correspondence of Canaanite צ to Aramaic ע points in the direction of a such a distinct phoneme, and is not dependent on Arabic. If you confine yourself solely to the Jewish Bible, ארץ in Hebrew corresponds to ארע in Aramaic, and to explain this correspondence we need to posit a separate proto-language consonant phoneme, which happens to also correspond to Arabic ض... AnonMoos (talk) 15:48, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Literacy in Pre-Buddhist India
Literacy in pre-Buddhist India (before 600 BC)
Please find my collection of papers on literacy in Pre-Buddhist India
Before mature phase of Indus valley civilization (before 2600 BC)
- There are some potters marks but none qualify as full writing
Indus valley civilization (2600 BC to 1900 BC)
1. The reconfirmation and reinforcement of the Indus script thesis (very logical and self explanatory paper)
2. The reintroduction of the lost manuscript hypothesis (the case for this thesis has obviously become much stronger in the recent past)
Post-Harappan India (1600 BC to 600 BC)
1. Literacy in post-Harappan india (obviously literacy in post-Harappan India existed in certain pockets & were limited to very small sections of society- alphabetic scripts were brought from West Asia and the Indus script also continued – this a very logical and self-explanatory paper and anyone can cross-verify the conclusions)