This article is about sets of letters used in written languages. The Proto-Canaanite script, later evolution of english alphabet as the Phoenician alphabet, is the first fully phonemic script.
Thus the Phoenician alphabet is considered to be the first alphabet. Many languages use modified forms of the Latin alphabet, with additional letters formed using diacritical marks. Alphabets are usually associated with a standard ordering of letters. This makes them useful for purposes of collation, specifically by allowing words to be sorted in alphabetical order. Knowing one’s ABCs”, in general, can be used as a metaphor for knowing the basics about anything.
The history of the alphabet started in ancient Egypt. In the Middle Bronze Age, an apparently “alphabetic” system known as the Proto-Sinaitic script appears in Egyptian turquoise mines in the Sinai peninsula dated to circa the 15th century BC, apparently left by Canaanite workers. The Proto-Sinaitic script eventually developed into the Phoenician alphabet, which is conventionally called “Proto-Canaanite” before ca. The oldest text in Phoenician script is an inscription on the sarcophagus of King Ahiram. The script was spread by the Phoenicians across the Mediterranean. In Greece, the script was modified to add the vowels, giving rise to the ancestor of all alphabets in the West. The vowels have independent letter forms separate from the consonants, therefore it was the first true alphabet.
The Greeks chose letters representing sounds that did not exist in Greek to represent the vowels. The Greek alphabet, in its Euboean form, was carried over by Greek colonists to the Italian peninsula, where it gave rise to a variety of alphabets used to write the Italic languages. Another notable script is Elder Futhark, which is believed to have evolved out of one of the Old Italic alphabets. Elder Futhark gave rise to a variety of alphabets known collectively as the Runic alphabets. The Old Hungarian script is a contemporary writing system of the Hungarians.
It was in use during the entire history of Hungary, albeit not as an official writing system. From the 19th century it once again became more and more popular. The Glagolitic alphabet was the initial script of the liturgical language Old Church Slavonic and became, together with the Greek uncial script, the basis of the Cyrillic script. The longest European alphabet is the Latin-derived Slovak alphabet which has 46 letters. Beyond the logographic Chinese writing, many phonetic scripts are in existence in Asia.
Most alphabetic scripts of India and Eastern Asia are descended from the Brahmi script, which is often believed to be a descendant of Aramaic. In Korea, the Hangul alphabet was created by Sejong the Great. Mandarin Chinese in the Republic of China. European alphabets, especially Latin and Cyrillic, have been adapted for many languages of Asia. The term “alphabet” is used by linguists and paleographers in both a wide and a narrow sense.
In the wider sense, an alphabet is a script that is segmental at the phoneme level—that is, it has separate glyphs for individual sounds and not for larger units such as syllables or words. All three types may be augmented with syllabic glyphs. These are the only time vowels are indicated. Devanagari is typically an abugida augmented with dedicated letters for initial vowels, though some traditions use अ as a zero consonant as the graphic base for such vowels. The boundaries between the three types of segmental scripts are not always clear-cut.