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Phoenician Alphabet

Phoenician Alphabet

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Definition: An alphabet is a set of symbols used in writing. Each symbol represents a phoneme. An alphabet can be used for writing words in more than one language.

There is some debate as to whether an alphabet -- which word comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet -- must include vowels, since without vowels, consonants can't be pronounced. If that requirement is accepted, the Greek alphabet is the first alphabet; otherwise, the vowel-free semitic abcedary of the Hebrew-Phoenicians may come first, but see Common Errors (5): The Alphabet and Early Writing.

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