Talk:Phoenician language

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Source of the language?[edit]

I can see there are some inscriptions which form the basis for the Punic language [1], but what are the sources for the Phoenician mother language? Zestauferov 12:11, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Quite a lot of inscriptions in Phoenician exist, but not many of them are online; there's a couple at [2]. If you mean what sources did I use, memory of a university course. - Mustafaa 18:18, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

No thats ok Mustafaa, Just I remember telling someone once that there were no written records in phoenician only inscriptions but I was shot down for it. I was still convinced that there were no written records so I was just wondering what inscriptions/sources the reconstructed phoenician language was based upon. Thankyou. Zestauferov 22:58, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, there are no records with vowels in them, apart from the occasional Greek and Roman transcriptions, so the vowels for Phoenician are mostly reconstructed. But the consonants are well-attested from a variety of tomb inscriptions, temple laws, ostraca, royal proclamations, etc. - Mustafaa 16:58, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Study of "advanced" Phoenician[edit]

"University of Chicago (the only place to study advanced Phoenician). "

I think we have quite an "advanced" Phoenician courses at TAU, and I expect in many other places too. Besides, the sentence hardly seems suitable for wikipedia. I suggest it be removed.

Kilamuwa's Tomb?[edit]

I'm a bit curious about "Kilamuwa's tomb." I thought the inscription was discovered at the entrance of the palace at Zinjirli? I am fairly certain there were no tombs discovered in the early German excavations at Zinjirli. To be sure, there are literary components in this inscription (KAI 24) that seem to recall funerary texts - which is why I'm curious by the label Kilmuwa's tomb. Em-jay-es 16:07, 20 May 2006 (UTC)


I have removed the following material by, as it is discursive, from the article to post here:

On the coins from the 300 to 400 B.C. I have seen similar to aramaic writings. Coins that were minted in Zeugitana, Carthage during the Punic Wars. These ancient coins used denominations in shekels. It would be interesting for someone to figure out how these Jewish people colonized in Africa and Spain. The coins are the only evidence I can find of their existance. Here is a link for the coins:

Gareth Hughes 00:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

One language or many?[edit]

The title of this article is "Phoenician languages", but the intro starts off as:

Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal region then called Pūt in Ancient Egyptian, Canaan in Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, and Phoenicia in Greek and Latin. Phoenician is a Semitic language of the Canaanite subgroup, closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. This area includes modern-day Lebanon, coastal Syria, and northern Israel. Its speakers called their own language (dabarīm) Pōnnīm/Kana'nīm "Punic/Canaanite (speech)".

Is Phoenician a single language or a group of languages? If it's the former, than this article should probably be renamed. Khoikhoi 00:04, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Honestly I don't think it makes much difference. There's ancient Phoenician and Punic, but they're all Canaanite languages. Ancient Phoenician was part of a dialect continuum, and Punic was as different a language as all other surviving Canaanite languages were or are. There is Hebrew languages, which are not a language family but rather the forms of the Canaanite language used by Hebrew groups that had settled in Canaan. So while Phoenician languages are probably not a family, they are distinct in being Canaanite languages varieties spoken specifically by the Phoenicians wherever they lived or settled. - Gilgamesh 02:16, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. However, here are some Google numbers:
Or, if you trust printed books more:
Khoikhoi 02:31, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Page moved. Khoikhoi 02:28, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


he ancient Lybico-Berber alphabet derived from the Punic script still in irregular use by modern Berber groups such as the Touareg is known by the native name tifinaġ, possibly a declined form of the borrowed word Pūnic. Direct borrowings from Punic appear in modern Berber dialects: one interesting example is agadir "wall" from Punic gader. This term also served as the origin of the name of the Spanish city of Cádiz (Latin: Gades), from Punic (Qart-)Gadir "The Walled (City)".

In this section of text only the Touareg are mentioned as the poeple that speak tifinagh. While there numbers of the Touareg isn't the biggest among the Amazigh people. The Touareg do not use the Tifinagh writings. They have there own writings of the Amazigh language. The Tifinagh comes from the north-western parts of Africa(Morocco and Algeria).

According to the Holy Hebrew scriptures shows Canaanite & the Phoencians were Canaanite original language was not Semitic, they adopt Aramiac:

Quoting a good reference:

"Although the Bible record clearly shows the Canaanites to be Hamitic, the majority of reference works speak of them as of Semitic origin. This classification is based on the evidence of a Semitic language spoken by the Canaanites. The evidence most frequently appealed to is the large number of texts found at Ras Shamra (Ugarit) written in a Semitic language or dialect and considered to date from as far back as the 14th century B.C.E. However, Ugarit apparently did not come within the Biblical boundaries of Canaan. An article by A. F. Rainey in The Biblical Archaeologist (1965, p. 105) states that on ethnic, political, and, probably, linguistic bases “it is now clearly a misnomer to call Ugarit a ‘Canaanite’ city.” He gives further evidence to show that “Ugarit and the land of Canaan were separate and distinct political entities.” Hence, these tablets provide no clear rule by which to determine the language of the Canaanites.

Many of the Amarna Tablets found in Egypt do proceed from cities in Canaan proper, and these tablets, predating the Israelite conquest, are written mainly in cuneiform Babylonian, a Semitic language. This, however, was the diplomatic language of the entire Middle East at that time, so that it was used even when writing to the Egyptian court. Thus, it is of considerable interest to note the statement in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (edited by G. A. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 1, p. 495) that “the Amarna Letters contain evidence for the opinion that non-Semitic ethnic elements settled in Palestine and Syria at a rather early date, for a number of these letters show a remarkable influence of non-Semitic tongues.” (Italics ours.) The facts are that there is still uncertainty as to the original language spoken by the first inhabitants of Canaan.

It is true, however, that the Bible account itself appears to show that Abraham and his descendants were able to converse with the people of Canaan without the need of an interpreter, and it may also be noted that, while some place-names of a non-Semitic type were used, most of the towns and cities captured by the Israelites already bore Semitic names. Still, Philistine kings in Abraham’s time and also, evidently, David’s time, were called “Abimelech” (Ge 20:2; 21:32; Ps 34:Sup), a thoroughly Semitic name (or title), whereas it is nowhere contended that the Philistines were a Semitic race. So, it would appear that the Canaanite tribes, over a period of some centuries from the time of the confusion of tongues at Babel (Ge 11:8, 9), apparently changed over to a Semitic tongue from their original Hamitic language. This may have been because of their close association with the Aramaic-speaking peoples of Syria, as a result of Mesopotamian domination for a period of time, or for other reasons not now apparent. Such a change would be no greater than that of other ancient nations, such as the ancient Persians, who, though of Indo-European (Japhetic) stock, later adopted the Semitic Aramaean language and writing.

“The language of Canaan” referred to at Isaiah 19:18 would by then (eighth century B.C.E.) be the Hebrew language, the principal language of the land." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:28, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone please take a look at my question at Talk:Wilhelm Gesenius?

Thanks in advance. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 17:27, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Phoencian script in Unicode[edit]

Since the Phoenician script is now encoded in Unicode (and, to my surprise, already works in my browser), I was going to replace the image-based language name in the infobox with the text form. However, I can't figure out how to get the right-to-left text to work right. Here's my best effort, which still shows up left-to-right:

{{script|Phnx|<span dir="rtl">|𐤃𐤁𐤓𐤉𐤌𐤟𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍𐤉𐤌|</span>}}

Could someone who has more expertise with RTL than I do finish what I started? — ˈzɪzɨvə (talk) 22:54, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I have now added this span tag to Template:Script/Phoenician, but it still shows up with LTR order. &rlo; and &pdf; are not resolved by Wikipedia, and that's the only other way I can think of doing it, but dir= is supposed to achieve the same thing as those characters anyway. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 12:57, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Phoenican bal and Hebrew bli[edit]

The article compares Phoenican bal with "Hebrew "belial" (beli- ya'al) "without advantage, gain" = worthless". In Hebrew there is a word בלי (bli) "without". May be it is better example? (talk) 22:39, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Survival in Phoenicia[edit]

I don't have The Semitic languages (ed. Robert Hetzron) with me so I cannot check, but if I remember correctly, it states that Phoenician was spoken in Phoenicia until the 1st century BC. Can anyone check? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:49, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Also, I seem to remember reading there (or perhaps elsewhere?) that Punic was spoken particularly long on Sardinia, until the 6th century AD. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:11, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

The Proto-Hellenic Phoenicians[edit]

It is still astonishing to read these revisions of history that incorrectly restructure the progression of Phoenician directly to Greek, instead of the manufactured fantasy that Phoenician is a "West" Semitic people. The Phoenician peoples split into separate regions, combined with the Greeks through treaty and inter-marriage and were not Semitic (the men were uncircumcised). The "upper" Canaanites were repeatedly at war with Judea and Hebrew history is linked through Aramaic and Greek in a less direct connection. The Hebrew history is the old testament story of the Israelites. The Phoenicians are closely related Greek non-Semitic civilization and became part of many different Hellenic peoples and states (in TYRE especially), and with the exception of those went on to found Carthage.

The article claims that the origins of Phoenician is in areas of Cyprus and other areas of recorded Mycenaean civilizations, that is because the Phoenician people are related to the Asian 'non-classical' (or Greek speaking)Hellenic peoples of that area, between the Hittites and northwest of Assyria in Anatolia.

You had to be circumcised or from Babylon to even resemble Semetic peoples, the history contradicts these contemporary unfounded claims. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:47, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

It is important to distinguish between language, ethnicity, and culture. This article discusses the Phoenician language, which is known to be a Semitic language because of obvious resemblances to Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc. If you know Hebrew you can see this for yourself in the sample text, which has words like khn (priest), mlk (king), bn (son), virtually identical to the Hebrew words (see also historical linguistics). Your claims seem to pertain more to the article Phoenicia, which talks about the ancient region and its people. But note that you need to present reliable sources for those claims, especially if you are attempting to define ethnicity on the basis of a specific cultural practice, such as circumcision. Lesgles (talk) 01:04, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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