Interesting post. I noticed the same, having read the same course of Dr. Bruno Furst and also having learned shorthand many years ago. I’ve been researching it for a long time. What is clear is that all of it is based upon sound, as in mouth-shape.
The NG has a different use of the letter G. You do not say Guh at the end of the word Song, which is, in effect, a different ‘mouth shape’. Okay, it’s not the mouth if it’s nasal.
Looking back at ancient Phoenician, it seems that their alphabet has the letter A. It also seems that they didn’t use this letter as the vowels we use it for today, as they used all the non-vowel sounds, of the mouth shapes. Most of what they did came from Egyptian writing. Egyptian writing came in tow forms; long hand and short hand.
Phoenician letters also rotated, as they were written, but essentially, the writing hasn’t changed since then. A small change did happen when the Phoenicians (Supposedly OPrince Cadmus looking for his sister Europa), went to Greece. They taught the Greeks the vowel sounds, then the Greeks wrote down the vowel sounds as characters and it is said that the Grandfather of Memory, Simonides wrote the last four of these.
However, the Phoenicians must have been clearly aware that these characters and mouth shapes did not change from continent to continent, so they created an alphabet to account for this, in order to trade. It took them many years. It was generations, not just one guy ‘inventing’ and alphabet. It was a community thing.
What the Phoenicians clearly and intentionally left out, was the vowel sounds. These vary from country to country and even within a county, something it was inevitable for the Phoenicians to notice. They went to Greece and the vowels were created. Those vowels were Greek vowels and that’s when it all went wrong.
There are less than one hundred common mouth shapes that are easy to do, which can be transposed into an alphabet for any language in the world. This was clearly the intention of the Phoenicians with their Proto Canaanite alphabet. It’s most bizarre that is is not regarded as a proper alphabet, when it is perhaps the ultimate alphabet and the parent of English, French, German, Arabic, Greek and Russian, amongst others. The shapes of the letters are different, but the sounds are essentially the same, providing you remove any vowels and semi vowels.
These Phoenicians were the geniuses of their time, long before the Greeks could read and write, so the Phoenicians taught them their alphabet. Plato didn’t have a high opinion of their obsession with money years later, but to them it was a good measure of success.
The Phoenicians made and advanced ship, kind of a ships equivalent of a production line, like an Ikea table you can build yourself in next to no time.
But then the barbaric Romans came. Upto this point, nobody had really considered the Roman’s to be much of a threat. But they found a copy of the ship building plans and soon built an empire. That empire involved the Romans convincing the world that they were the true geniuses by rewriting history.
They attempted to destroy all records of creation of the Phoenicians and Greeks. they stole their gods, their inventions and pretty much everything else, including the alphabet.
Now known as the Latin alphabet, what the Romans didn’t know was that they should have created their own vowels, because they had learned Greek vowels and forced pretty much everyone else in the Roman Empire to learn them, then England did the same with the English Empire.
Today, we are stuck with a broken alphabet. In the beginning, the Phoenician alphabet was a master-stroke of mnemonic genius, but the Romans destroyed it, along with correct education of alphabets for the next few thousand years.
Even the latest books based up Bopomofu systems of whatever today, use Romanisation translations. How many people actually speak Roman ? I don’t know any, unless you count a few that speak some mediocre modern Latin.
The English alphabet is not standardised. it should be, as it was in Finland, which is why Finland has the superior education system when compared to England, because the process of learning itself is easier, because the Finnish alphabet has been standardised once more to make it Phoenetic.
People change over time and lose sight of the purpose of alphabets, but even in those times in ancient Egypt, the priests knew the held the science of the age and nobody could touch it.
This was observed for several hundreds of years, especially during times like the Black Death. In England, the people from the moved South, escaping the terrible disease, but the people from the South moved North. it was everywhere, but they people could not tell each other. People from the same country, speaking the same language, could not understand each other.
The powers that be realised that it was time for standardisation and set about it. However, there was no postal service to speak of, no radio, television or internet, so the cities use the newer vowels and the rural farming communities stuck with the old vowel sounds. Other than some minor changes, such as the English letter THORN (TH) being removed from the alphabet, pretty much nothing has changed. This even is known as the great vowel shift and lasted for hundreds of years. It is the pinnacle of the difference between the classes of British society even today, where you can ask a native speaker to do a farmers accent or to do the accent of Lord.
The basic principles of the spelling and pronunciation of this age old system all but removed the idea of dyslexia, but in comprehensive schools today, very few young people get taught the history of the alphabet, so never understand how to spell. In Grammar schools there is a much better chance you will be taught and in ‘Public school’ (In Britain public school means private), you most certainly will be taught these things, but you won’t teach the farmer of ‘commoner’, as it is frowned upon in British society for these different classes to mingle, even today.
Also, it might be interesting to you to look up: Bopomofu and Matteo Ricci.
I just re-read this and see countless spelling errors. Such irony. 😉