Cross, F. M., “The Origin and Early Evolution of the Alphabet.” ErIsr 8 (1967): 8-24.
Cross discusses the emerging evidence for the proto-Canaanite alphabet from the pictographic script represented by the proto-Sinaiatic inscriptions to the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet and the early Phoenician inscriptions. He argues against Gelb that the proto-Canaanite scripts are not syllabaries, but represent consonantal phonemes. This seems to fit the syllable pattern of proto-Canaanite since syllables always begin with a consonant and there are only three phonemic vowels: a, i, and u. Thus in the structure of the writing, each sign notes a consonantal phoneme but implies the possible existence of a vowel. Cross also argues based on typology that the proto-Arabic script branched off from the proto-Canaanite around 1300.Cross, FM, Orthography, Uncategorized