Before the alphabet was invented in the beginning of the letter based on pictographic characters known as hieroglyphics or cuneiform wedges by pressing the stylus into the soft clay. Since these methods require multiple characters to identify each word letter is complex and limited to a small group of highly qualified scribes. Sometime in the second millennium BC (estimated to be between 1850 and 1700 BC), a group of Semitic-speaking people adapted subset of the Egyptian hieroglyphics to represent the sounds of their language.
Written from right to left, and extends to the Phoenician sea traders who occupied part of modern Lebanon, Syria and Israel, this consonant alphabet, also known as Abjad-consists of 22 characters, simple enough for ordinary traders to learn and do, which makes its use much more available and widely used.
From the 8th century B.C., Phoenician alphabet spread to Greece, where it is refined and improved in order to record the Greek language. Some Phoenician characters were retained, while others have been deleted, but the main innovation is the use of letters to represent vowel sounds.
Over time, the Greek alphabet has led to a number of other alphabets, including Latin, which spread throughout Europe, and clearly, the predecessor of the modern Russian alphabet. Click here to read the brief history of Letters & Alphabets.
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