Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by ancalimon, Oct 26, 2013.
Does anyone know where this is found and which alphabet it is?
Sabaean Language which was written in the South Arabian alphabet
Some of these look very much like Etruscan, Turkic and Viking alphabets.
The most prominent similarity is the Phoenician N symbol. It is derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a snake. All European and all Semitic alphabets are ultimately derived from the Phoenician alphabet. Hence, the similarity between the Old South Arabian N and the Etruscan N is not an accident. The runic (you wrote Viking but what you meant are runes) letter of this shape is different. It is related to the Phoenician letter Shin = Greek Sigma = Latin "S".
The Old South Arabian G looks similar to the runic L but that is coincidence. The runic equivalent of the Semitic G is the Greek Gamma and the Latin C. The runic equivalent is the K.
(In your picture, the Latin equivalents are indicated above the Old South Arabian letters; when I say "Old South Arabian N" and "Old South Arabian G" I refer to these transcriptions).
The history of the runic alphabet is not entirely known but is is consensus by now that is is derived from an Old Italic alphabet, a group that is decedent from a western Old Greek alphabet and to which also the Etruscan and Latin alphabets belong. All varieties of the Greek alphabet are derived from Phoenician.
I always believed that Phoenician>Greek>Latin "N" was derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph depicting water surface with waves (^^^^^) which actually has the value of "N". I think I saw it written in some book too... The only two simple hieroglyphs depicting snake have values of "J" and "F" (snake with horns) if I can remember well and I don't see how these were used for Phoenician "N".
You are right, I shouldn't have said this as if it was a well known fact. The snake is only one of several hypotheses about the origin of the Phoenician Nun. But I think you are confusing this with Mem. That one is thought to represent water waves.
I am finding resources for both, water being the origin of nun (like here: http://proteus.brown.edu/greekpast/4739) or mem as you say and I see elsewhere.
Anyway thanks for showing me a different view, I probably should not have taken it for a fact that water was origin of N just because it was N in hieroglyphs and then similar in Phoenician/Greek/Latin.
I see that some letters are derived rather from the first sound of the Semitic word of what is depicted in which case water (mayim) is mem of course.
The link that I posted shows 'owl' - M as origin of M which also seems plausible to me.
I don't know an what arguments that table is built but it seems to ignore (how old is this table?) or maybe reject (not everybody agrees that proto-Sinaic is a pre-cursor of Phoenician), apart from the West-Semitic names of the letters, the proto-Sinaic evidence (see the table here). Cf e.g. the etymologies they propose for Aleph (eagle) and Beth (crane). That does not look too convincing.
Separate names with a comma.