Alphabets

Alphabets

4000 BCE

The phonetic alphabet is believed to have been devised around 6,000 years ago by the Canaanite peoples of the Middle East as a simplified version of Egyptian hieroglyphs. This language, which incorporated a mixture of the earlier hieroglyphic system and later Semitic letters, enabled the average person to write down their thoughts and feelings for the first time. Previous to this, the physical writing of information had been a highly restricted practice, typically the reserve of priests and the well educated. Today, all subsequent alphabets have descended in one way or another from this first phonetic system and are used to communicate the world over.