[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Nov 15 15:48:48 EST 2004


When the Greeks adopted the Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet, did a difference between sin and shin exist in Phoenician? There was no written difference. 

The Greeks retained the samekh as a Xi "x" sound while they shifted the name to the sigma, which was the sin/shin. The pre-exilic form of Hebrew samekh was almost identical to the Greek uncial Xi and in the same place in the alphabet. The Greeks dropped the tsada.

It looks as if Aramaic originally had a difference between samekh and sin at the time of Daniel, but by a century later, at the time of Ezra or Esther, it either was in the process of or had completed dropping that difference. Apparently Hebrew under the influence of Aramaic dropped the difference within a few generations of Ezra. Hence Arabic which is even later did not have the samekh.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> It is interesting that Arabic does not have a Samekh. Ugaritic seems to have
> had both Sin and Samekh. When Greek adapted the Phoenician alphabet, they
> dropped Samekh, but retained Sin (Sigma). Phoenician certainly had Samekh.
> Yigal
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