[b-hebrew] 22-Letter Alphabet Origination

joel at exc.com joel at exc.com
Fri Jul 3 11:08:07 EDT 2009

>It would seem to me, that since their phonetic inventory was wider
>than the 22 letter alphabet could fully accommodate, it would seem
>that they were the adopters of the alphabet.

The Hebrews almost certainly adopted and adapted the Phoenician
writing system, adding the matres lectionis: vocalic heh, yud, and

I think the evidence for a wider phonetic inventory is less clear than
other bits of information.  We really don't know what Hebrew sounded
like 3,000 years ago.


Joel M. Hoffman, PhD


Director of Education
Temple Israel of Northern Westchester

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list