Phoenician ( / fəˈniːʃən / fə-NEE-shən) is an extinct Canaanite Semitic language originally spoken in the region surrounding the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Extensive Tyro-Sidonian trade and commercial dominance led to Phoenician becoming a lingua franca of the maritime Mediterranean during the Iron Age.
Phoenician is a Semitic language of the Canaanite subgroup. It is related to the Hebrew language but was more developed. Phoenician is divided into three groups. Archaic Phoenician dates from the 10th to the 7th century BC. Middle Phoenician dates from 6th to the 4th century BC. Late Phoenician was dated from the 3rd to the 1st century BC.
- Writing System
- Vocabulary and Word Formation
- Survival and Influences of Punic
- Surviving Examples
- See Also
- Further Reading
The Phoenicians were the first state-level society to make extensive use of the Semitic alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet is the oldest verified consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It has become conventional to refer to the script as "Proto-Canaanite" until the mid-11th century BC, when it is first attested on inscribed bronze arrowheads, and as "Phoen...
Phoenician was written with the Phoenician script, an abjad (consonantary) originating from the Proto-Canaanite alphabet that also became the basis for the Greek alphabet and, via an Etruscan adaptation, the Latin alphabet. The Punic form of the script gradually developed somewhat different and more cursive letter shapes; in the 3rd century BC, it ...
The Phoenician orthography (see Phoenician alphabet) distinguishes the following consonants (the standard transliteration of the corresponding Phoenician graphemes is marked in bold): The system reflected in the abjad above is the product of several mergers. From Proto-Northwest Semitic to Canaanite, *š and *ṯ have merged into *š, *ḏ and *z have merged into *z, and *ṱ, *ṣ́ and *ṣ have merged into * ṣ. Next, from Canaanite to Phoenician, the sibilants *ś and *š were merged as *š, *ḫ and *ḥ wer...
Knowledge of the vowel system is very imperfect because of the characteristics of the writing system. During most of its existence, Phoenician writing showed no vowels at all, and even as vowel notation systems did eventually arise late in its history, they never came to be applied consistently to native vocabulary. It is thought that Phoenician had the short vowels /a/, /i/, /u/ and the long vowels /aː/, /iː/, /uː/, /eː/, /oː/. The Proto-Semitic diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ are realized as /eː/...
Stress-dependent vowel changes indicate that stress was probably mostly final, as in Biblical Hebrew.Long vowels probably occurred only in open syllables.
As is typical for the Semitic languages, Phoenician words are usually built around consonantal roots and vowel changes are used extensively to express morphological distinctions. However, unlike most Semitic languages, Phoenician preserved numerous uniconsonantal and biconsonantal roots inherited from Proto-Afro-Asiatic: compare the verbs kn "to be...
The basic word order is verb-subject-object. There is no verb "to be" in the present tense; in clauses that would have used a copula, the subject may come before the predicate. Nouns precede their modifiers, such as adjectives and possessors.
Most nouns are formed by a combination of consonantal roots and vocalic patterns, but they can formed also with prefixes (/m-/, expressing actions or their results, and rarely /t-/) and suffixes /-ūn/. Abstracts can be formed with the suffix -t (probably /-īt/, /-ūt/). Adjectives can be formed following the familiar Semitic nisba suffix /-īy/ y (e....
The significantly-divergent later form of the language that was spoken in the Tyrian Phoenician colony of Carthage is known as Punic and remained in use there for considerably longer than Phoenician did in Phoenicia itself by arguably surviving into Augustine of Hippo's time. The Punic throughout its existence co-existed with the Berber language wh...
Phoenician, together with Punic, is primarily known from approximately 10,000 surviving inscriptions,supplemented by occasional glosses in books written in other languages. In addition to their many inscriptions, the Phoenicians are believed to have left numerous other types of written sources, but most have not survived. Roman authors, such as Sal...Fox, Joshua. "A Sequence of Vowel Shifts in Phoenician and Other Languages." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 55, no. 1 (1996): 37-47. https://www.jstor.org/stable/545378.Hackett, Joe Ann (2008). "Phoenician and Punic" (PDF). In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.). The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia (PDF). Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO978051148689...Holmstedt, Robert D., and Aaron Schade. Linguistic Studies In Phoenician: In Memory of J. Brian Peckham. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013.Krahmalkov, Charles R. A Phoenician-Punic Grammar. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
The Phoenician alphabet is an alphabet (more specifically, an abjad) known in modern times from the Canaanite and Aramaic inscriptions found across the Mediterranean region. The name comes from the Phoenician civilization . The Phoenician alphabet is also called the Early Linear script (in a Semitic context, not connected to Minoan writing ...
The main article for this category is Phoenician language. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phoenician language. Subcategories This category has the following 3 subcategories, out of 3 total. A Phoenician alphabet (2 C, 26 P) I Phoenician inscriptions (3 C, 74 P) P Punic language (3 C, 3 P) Pages in category "Phoenician language"
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