Phoenician is a Canaanite language carefully related to Hebrew. Very little is known about the Canaanite language, other than what deserve to be gathered indigenous the El-Amarna letters composed by Canaanite kings to Pharaohs Amenhopis III (1402 - 1364 BCE) and also Akhenaton (1364 - 1347 BCE). It appears that the Phoenician language, culture, and also writing were strongly influenced by Egypt (which managed Phoenicia because that a long time), as king Rib-Adda the Byblos admits in among his letters to the pharaoh.

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Egyptian & cuneiform Influence

Our knowledge of the Phoenician language is based on the couple of extant written texts in Phoenician. Before circa 1000 BCE Phoenician was written using picture writing symbols the were common across Mesopotamia. The very first signs of the Phoenician alphabet found at Byblos are clearly derived indigenous Egyptian hieroglyphics, and not from cuneiform. The 22 Phoenician letters room simplifications that Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols, which take it on a standardized type at the end of the 12th century BCE. Like Hebrew and also Arabic, Phoenician was written from best to left, and also vowels to be omitted (which provides deciphering Phoenician also harder).

Similarities come Hebrew

By 1000 BCE the Phoenician and also Hebrew language had come to be distinct from Aramaic, i m sorry was talked in Canaan. To give a couple of examples, the "ha-" prefix is offered in both Phoenician and Hebrew to suggest a determinate noun, when in Aramaic the "-a" suffix is used. The pronoun for the very first person is "ānōkī" while in Aramaic it is "anā" (as that is in modern-day Arabic). Words for "son" is "bar" in Aramaic yet "ben" is Phoenician and also Hebrew. Nevertheless there are differences between Hebrew and Phoenician: The verbs because that "to be" and "to do" differ and the long "a" sound in Hebrew is pronounce "o" in Phoenician, because that example.

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The Phoenician writing mechanism is, through virtue of being an alphabet, simple and simple to learn, and also also very adaptable to various other languages, rather unlike picture writing or hieroglyphics. In the 9th century BCE the Aramaeans had adopted the Phoenician alphabet, included symbols for the initial "aleph" and for long vowels. This Aramaic alphabet at some point turned into modern-day Arabic. Through the 8 hours century BCE, messages written in the Phoenician alphabet who authors were probably not Phoenician showed up in Cilicia in southerly Asia Minor and also in north Syria. Eventually the Greeks, that were in near trading contact with the Levant, embraced the Phoenician alphabet, included vowel sounds, and thus created the Greek alphabet (upon which our modern-day Latin alphabet is based).