Show Notes: The Phoenician Alphabet

Tracy Wilson

A Phoenician ship (Thinkstock.com/Dorling Kindersley RF).

Today's episode is straight from the "mother of invention" files. The Phoenicians were shipbuilders and traders whose routes took them to nations that all spoke different languages and used incompatible writing systems. Needing a way to track all their transactions, the Phoenicians came up with a systematized way to break words into sounds and record those sounds using symbols.

Contrary to the emails we've received on the subject, Israel was not left out of the description of where Phoenicia was to make a political point: It was an unintentional omission.

Holly has listener mail from Mikkel, on the use of "Oriental" in our episode on the domestication of cats. We've got cat mail from Andrea as well. Here's an essay on the use of "Orient."

For more knowledge: How did language evolve?

Episode link: The Phoenician Alphabet

Holly's notes:

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