Script on excavated terracotta seals from Harappa deciphered ????

Dan Lusthaus dlusthau at MAILER.FSU.EDU
Fri Nov 7 07:55:28 UTC 1997

One hopes that the deciphering is more accurate than the statements about
Semitic languages:

>Semitic languages like Aramic and Phoenician and modern ones like Arabic
>also use the syllabic system. Since no word in these languages begin with a
>vowel, the writing does not create any problems in comprehension.

Words in Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, etc., can begin with a vowel, and their
alphabets (not syllabic ciphers) contain vowels to depict them (Heb.: alef,
ayin, etc.; Arabic: alif, ayin, etc.). There are hundreds, if not thousands
of words in Semitic languages beginning with (written) vowels. ADaM, the
first man, is one example probably recognizable by everyone.

In writing, consonants are primarily used, but vowels can be included if
grammar dictates their necessity or a vowel-letter forms part of the root.
The written word KTB, for example, would be read in Hebrew as Katav ("he
wrote") and in Arabic as kitab ("book").

Dan Lusthaus
Florida State University

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