hyperfixated infodump

the basic shape of the capital latin letter a has remained fairly unchanged since phoenician
first developed over three millennia ago
the major change is that it was tipped over
it is believed to have originally represented a ox’s head
apparently greek scholars busied themselves with tipping over cows
in the fields

the basic shape of the lower case latin letter b is a half-rotation away from the phoenician character
the greeks gave the letter curves where the phoenicians gave it angles
the greeks kept the angles of G and D
it was the romans that curved those up

in g-that-is-c and in the shape of e
we see the effect of greek changing the direction of the river
epsilon is he in the mirror
at first people wrote their letters right to left
but then the greek decided to write back and forth
like the ox turning in the fields

the greeks tipped the ox head and flipped the writing over too
and though phonics and phoenician are unrelated words
it was the latter that gave us the former

the phoenicians did not write their vowels
and yet all of our vowels came from phoenician letters
a from alpha from ‘alep
e from epsilon from he
i from iota from yod
o from omicron and omega from ‘ayin
u from upsilon from waw

even our consonants j v and w came from greek vowels which came from phoenician consonants
yod waw waw respectively
the romans couldn’t decide what to do with waw
it became the five letters f u v w y
a fifth of our alphabet comes from waw

for five letters ‘alep bet giml dalet he
the romans diligently copied the greeks who had diligently copied the phoenicians
and then they got to waw and it all fell off the rails

did the greeks really invent the vowels deliberately
or did they just not understand glottal stops
in the same way that we don’t understand that pi and phi rhyme and sound the same to english ears

and let us take a moment to mourn for samek
kap lamed mem nun ‘ayin were kept intact
but the romans jettisoned samek-that-is-xi in favor of chi
which has no phoenician equivalent

the canonical mathematical symbol for the unknown
is the only english letter that is not traced back to phoenician
even though the phoenician had a symbol that looked like x
and even meant mark
that symbol became the latin t
which is the symbol for the unknown specific to calculus

these are accidents that don’t feel like accidents
these are accidents that someone else would attribute to the hand of god
these are accidents

but they are glorious accidents


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