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English Qaballa

To: alt.magick
From: Odysseus 
Subject: Re: English Qaballa
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 09:00:48 GMT

In article <>,
  jake  wrote:
> Calling English letters 'Latin' is a very commonly encountered mistake -
> we might as well call Latin 'Etruscan' or 'North Italian Runic'. The
> English Alphabet is the English Alphabet - period. Of course the fact
> that the Hebrew alphabet has a prehistory, (Proto-Canaanite etc.) makes
> it as hybrid as anyone else's. So we could call it 'Proto-Canaanite' on
> the grounds that it's ancestry includes that. That would make as much
> sense as calling English letters 'Latin'.

Except that 1) the letterforms we use are identical to those used by the
Romans, and 2) a great many languages besides English use the same alphabet
(ignoring diacritical marks). The examples you give all are related but
"different-looking" alphabets and show considerable evolution over time,
while modern typographers still use Roman inscriptional capitals of two
millennia ago as the basis for font designs. Ask a cantor to read a biblical
passage written in Proto-Canaanite and I think he’d have more trouble than an
American tourist reading Trajan’s Column!

The only Europeans who do not use the Latin alphabet are the Greeks and those
Slavs (and Bulgars) who use forms of Cyrillic, derived from Greek. And of
course it has been adopted for many other languages such as Vietnamese, and
still more countries, such as China, have established official "Romanized"
forms for transliterating their native scripts.

So IMO calling our alphabet "English" ignores the fact that it has been
unchanged since it was used for Latin (with the possible exceptions of the
later, and comparatively minor, I/J and U/V distinction), and implies a much
smaller scope of worldwide use than is the case.

I would much more readily go along with "English" as the label for Old
English scripts including _eth_ and _thorn_, but since they disappeared in
the late Middle Ages we’re back to the Latin character set.


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