Current Trends: The Hellenistic Alphabet Is Foundational

Here, I have argued that language rules the world of social construction and arrangement, and that the writing system comprised the most important step forward for humanity since the dawn of creation up until that time (say, very roughly, 3500 BC), or what we “dolphins” count as “Year 1 of Wisdom.”  Here, a dolphin represents a sophic-creationist metaphor for our Phoenician alphabet with its added accretions by which we supplement it.

Much like the historians, who begin history with the innovation of writing (but not nec. in the Year 1), dolphins believe that history and wisdom begin together with the advent of writing.   Since language forms for us the “final frontier,” and since language consists of alpha-numeric systems, what then shall we conclude?  We therefore maintain, brethren, that alphabets rule the world — after coffee anyway.

The Greeks borrowed, as we well know, their alphabet from a sea-faring, merchant people, known as the Phoenicians.  Like dolphins, these were largely fish-eaters (some boat peoples even had fish gods — like Dagon — turning one’s regular food supply — then the Teevee dinner — into deities remained an ancient past time).  But times change, and alphabets should show progress like everything else.  So the dolphin account of the ideal language will want to ask after the traits of an ideal alphabet.  We start our investigation with the Mediterranean-diet language of Hellenistic-Phoenician Greek.

First, we have recommended that we do not need both an alphabet of minuscule, and one of capital letters also (uncials).  So we have chosen the unciliar — in the interest of greater resolution and clarity — over the minuscular.  Ockham wins again.

Second, we have noted that the non-linear scripts — like the ultimately-curved and dotted Arabic — tend to yield cultures (and religions) we think of as, let us say, less-than-desirable — in a non-inflammatory, non-combustible, and highly non-explosive manner.   Remember, there is no Hellenistic word for “Jihad.”

Third, because of the way it was constructed and the (mythological) content it conveys, I am removing from the ideal Greek all religious terminology, from words like “pope,” “cardinal” and “bishop” to “redemption,” “Messiah” and “prophecy,” these must be discarded in the interest of the virtue we might call “honesty” or “integrity.”  The ideal language aims at (veridical) correspondence.

Fourth, many alphabets yield around 22 – 26 letters.  I have come to believe, after studying the different traits of the attending languages, that this represents just half the number of letters ideally constructing a language — that 50 letters is in fact just right.  This represents exactly the opposite (pendulum swing of a) conclusion I was working with some time ago, when I believed that 10 letters formed the best way to go.  Greek originally had 24 letters, after one had been dropped (25 was their maximum).  The hard part in assessing this matter remains the diphthong — a kind of “virtual letter.”  These function as a single letter, but actually has more than one.  An example in Greek is the prefix “EU” which means “well” or “good” as in “thank you,” said in the ancient tongue as “EUcharisto.”

It may well end up that we have 25 letters and some 25 diphthongs in the New [Ancient] Greek, since about this many diphthongs may be formed by combining the different vowels in the Greek alphabet, in all their many combinations.

Fifth, to remove all curves from the unciliar Greek, we shall have to reshape the letter “B,” and then “O” can be written as a Diamond, Rho can be “squared” at the top, U can be made squarish, Phi can be made diamond shaped, Psi can be squared, and Omega could be a diamond (omicron) with a vertical line bisecting from top to bottom.

I shall try to post more about my language updates soon, and I shall be recasting some of my earlier posts. I shall flag these changes as I make them.  I recommend that those who want to follow along with my Hellenistic and language studies obtain a copy of what I am currently using — the Oxford New Greek Dictionary (The Essential Resource — From the First Name in Reference: Revised and Updated with the Latest Words and Expressions), of the modern Greek.

This work has the advantage of including all those words for which the ancient Greek could not have any reference like the technological developments of the 20th century, for instance.  The modern Greek is largely based upon the ancient, and this particular reference was written with the English speaker in mind, so it has quite helpful, Anglo-Saxon “accenting” throughout.  This verdant paperback may be purchased at B & N for a pittance.

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