[b-hebrew] Why Semitic languages had no written vowels?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon May 2 18:29:07 EDT 2005


----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Rea" <bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 10:57 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Why Semitic languages had no written vowels?


> Vadim wrote:-
>
> >If we accept an obvious notion, that proto-West Semitic had a single
> >verbal stem or a single form of nouns, then there was just no need for
> >different vowels.
>
> t sms t m tht f y knw th wrds y cn fgr t wht thy r syng wtht ndng
> vwls. W mst rmmbr tht wrtng mrgd frm spch nd nt th thr wy rnd.
> Thrs nl a prblm f th wrd hs tw sllbls nd nl n vwl r th wrd strts
> wth a vwl.
>
> For those that can't figure that out:-
>
> It seems to me that if you know the words you can figure out what they
> are saying without needing vowels. We must remember that writing
> emerged from speech and not the other way round. There's only a problem
> if the word has two syllables and only one vowel or the word starts
> with a vowel.
>


Which is exactly why Ugaritic used "vowels" for the aleph, or more
precisely, had separate signs for )a, )u and )i.

Yigal





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