|Re: O.T. regarding the order of letters|
Message #2 Posted by Ernie Malaga (Miami) on 14 Apr 2003, 9:20 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Ellis Easley
>Don't some languages older than English, but still "alphabetic", do without vowels? If they were added at some point in history, were they just "spread around"?
Yes, there are languages which use alphabets and yet are written without vowels. Arabic and Hebrew are two such languages. Both include over- and under-markings to indicate vowels, but those are customarily omitted.
Languages that use the Latin or Greek alphabet, however, have separate letters for the vowels and do not omit them when writing. But they are related to neither Arabic nor Hebrew, but to Phoenician, which also had its vowels and used them like we do. Once I read that the letter O was the oldest (i.e., unchanged) of the alphabet, being some 5,000 years old.
One interesting question regarding alphabets is, why did the Romans change the order of the letters when taking the Greek alphabet to create the Latin one?