Joe Baker joebaker at
Wed Mar 14 19:18:32 EST 2001

Hi Kevin

Proto-Semitic had both ayin and ghayin, but in many of its descendant
languages, ghayin has merged into an ayin. Such was the case in the area
where the original 22 letter alphabet was developed. Here it was a pure
ayin. When areas which retained the distinction began to adopt this alphabet
they simple used the letter ayin to write both sounds. Hebrew is an example
of this and we know from the LXX that the sound distinction was retained
into Hellenistic times. Probably the best example is the town of Gaza, which
form of the name derives from Greek - although the earlier name its earlier
Greek form in  Herodotos, Kadutis, derives from Egyptian (which didn't have
a ghayin but represented the sound in hieroglyphs which we today translate
as "G" and "K") 

Joe Baker ===========\
Perth                |
Western Australia ===/

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