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kh, g, gh and gutteral n;“pu” means p, ph, b, bh and m (vide Rule 8–4–1 and 2 about the chavge of denial n into lingual n after r, I, etc., even if “ ku" or "pu” intervene, or tbe rule 8-4-59 about “ta” changing into "I" before a "1"). lbis clearly shows that the arrangement of the letters as we dow possess was fully in vogue before the grammar was written. Such a scientific alphabet existing at so early an age as that when Siva Sutras were compiled, takes the Indian phonetic writing to a much earlier period than can be assigned to any of the otter alphabets.

To say, therefore, as almost all the European scholars are inclined to, that India derived its alphabet either from the Phænician or the Sabæan alphabet is utterly unfounded. Similarity of letters, which is the only gronnd on which the conjectures are based, does not prove anything. Pbæpician and Sabæan letters could as well be taken a3 copier from the Indian alphabet the Bráhmí. It will be shown later that this was actually the case, the Indian alphabetical symbols having been designed on a scientific principle.

It is difficult to find when the change into the scientiac stage, i. e. the phonetic arrangement of the letters, and adoption of symbols based on a fixed principle, took place. Both these changes might easily be taken as baving occurred simultaneously, as the idea of the one naturally brings to mind the idea of the other. The story about the first writing of the Mabābhāra'a mentioned in Chapter III, which although in a mythological garb can now be taken as not altogether without foundation, may give some clue of when the change took place. Vyāsa, the author of the Mahabharata wanted, the story says, a scribe who could write his book to dictation. None could undertuke to do so, except Gaņeśa, who however imposed a condition that he should not be made to wait.

It appears probable that Vyasa wanted his book to be written in the new script, which could be written much swifter than the old script, but which he himself was not versed in, and which many scribes did not know at the time. Ganesa,

the son of Śiva the author of the new system, was surely the person best suited for the purpose. It may not be out of place to mention that the elephant head which Ganesha is said, in Hindu mythology, to possess is considered by some as nothing but the sacred Om the best of the letters, showing thereby that he was the author of phonetic writing and god of learning.

It may thus be safely concluded that the new alphabet with its new symbols was started in India a little before the great epic Mahābhārata, was written. Circa 1700 BC. or 200 years after the great war was fought may be taken as an approxi.1 ate date.

VI.-Origin of the Phoenician alphabet. The inanner in which and the source from which the Phrani cians derived their alphabet is a matter much discussed but not yet sati factorily settled. The first theory started by Mr. V. E. de Ronge is that the Phænician alphabet was adopted from the Hieratic Egyptian. This is based on the similarity of certain characters in the Phænician with those in the Egyptian hieratic. The latter being cursive in form have however been stretched to a certain extent to show the similarity which is therefore not convincing. Besides, Egyptian has letters with more than one sound, as also more letters for one sound, and to take only those sounds or letters which suit the similarity does not give much weight to the theory.

The other theory started by W. Deccke is that it was derived from the Afsyrian cuniform. This is chiefly based on the fact that the oldest Pbonioian inscriptions have been found in Assyria. Toe theory supposes the derivation of certain letters of the Phænician from certain syllables in the Assyrian writing, which again are supposed to be abbreviations of certain words expressing the idea represented by the particular symbols. To give an instance in English, it may be taken that the letter 'w' was derived from the syllable 'wa', which was represented by the same symbol as water, the form of this symbol being determined from the idea of ripples in water, But all is not so easy in the actual theory. For instance, the circular form of the Phænician letter Teth (t dental) has been taken as derived from the Assyrian word Dibbu (meaning a writing table), through a supposed syllable tip (with a lingual t). The whole theory can only be taken as a mere conjicture, as the phonetic value of the Assyrian syllabery is itself a matter of conjecture.

Professor Flinders Petrie would take the origin of the Phænician alphabet from the letter-like symbols on the pebbles found on the shores of the Mediterranean. There are others who think its origin may be found in the Cyprian syllabery or Hittite hieroglyphics, but these are mere suppositions without any grounds whatsoever.

Before a particular system of writing can be given the credit of being the original from which another is derived, it must satisfy all the peculiarities of the latter, the particular shape of its letters, their arrangement, etc., of course making an allowance for the changes necessary due to the change of the languages to be written, the peculiarities of the new people who handle it, and the elapse of the time after which the comparison is made. The letters of the Phænician alphabet have names (beginning with those letters) which represent certain objects. These names we now know from other alphabets derived from the Phænician, and the meanings of some of them through other Semitic languages, Hebrew, Arabic, etc. The presumption is that when this alphabet was framed the shape of the letters adopted did approximately, or at least to a certain extent, represent the objects

, which gave the names to the letters. The prototype must satisfy this chief condition. Then the Phænician alphabet appears to have had its letters arranged very nearly in the way we find them in the Hebrew, Arabic and the present day European alphabets. The arrangement is not based on any scientific or other principle. It is not, for instance, apparent why the sounds b, g and d, or 1, m and n should be placed as they are, side by side. Several attempts have been made to explain away the anamolous arrangement but all in vain. The explanations are far from satisfactory. It must therefore have been borrowed, and the original must be shown to have possessed the particular order of the letters at least partially.

Similarity of the form of letters is also one of the chief conditions but as already pointed out it is not a decisive evidence of one alphabet being the prototype of another. The case might just be the reverse, or bo: h might bave bad a common origin.

The European sebolars go, it appears, by the last test only. Dr. Bübler mentions the following fundamental maxims which he rays should be observed at the derivation of alphabets-(a) The olde t and the fulle:t form of the derivation and types of the same periods of the original should be taken. (6) The irregularities should be supported by analogies from other cases of borrowing by other nations. (c) Fixed principles should be found for the changes if these are considerable.

These, especially the last two, are very louse maxims and the results cannot but be deceptive, unless the tests as to the peculiarities of the derivative, as mentioned above, have been satisfied.

Testing in the light of the above remarks the sereral systems of writing sapposed by the different scholars to be the sources of the Phoenician alphabet we find tbat every one of them fails hopelessly. The bieratic Egyptian has only a farfetched similarity of symbols. Its letters also bear Dames of objects supposed to be represented by the form of the symbols, but these objects are quite different from those in the Phænician alphabet for the same sounds. For instance, while, in Phænician the symbols for the sounds a, b and g have & supposed resemblance to an ox, a house and a camel, in the Egyptian they are supposed to represent an eagle, a bird and a basket respectively. It is evident from this that the latter was not the origin from which the Phoenician alphabet was derived. Had it been so the names in the two languages would have indicated the same object for each symbol. It cannot be sup

(1) Iodinn Palæography.

posed that the names of the Egyptian letters were all forgotten and the form of the symbols entirely altered before the Phænicians adopted them. The antiquity of the Egyrtian alphabet does not warrant this. The little s'milarity of orm of certain letters is due to the commercial relations of the two people which must have caused an influence of either alphabet over the other.

The Assyrian syllabery cannot stand the test at all. We are not yet certain of the phonetic values of the syllables used in the Assyrian writing. Also we have nothing to show that the Phænician alphabet did undergo a process of development which is nece:sary in case an alphabet is derived from a foreign syllabery. The Persian caniform alphabet, which is as offspring of the Assyrian syllabery, is too moderd (the oldest record dating 516 3.c.) to be the medium between the Phoenician alphabet and the Assyrian syllabery.

Let as now see how the Indian alphabet (Bráhmí) fares at the test. We bave seen it has a boary antiquity behind it, that its scientific stage was reacbed about 1700 B. C. although it could not yet produce any inscri tion datin; earlier than fifth century B.C.

The letters of the Bráhmí alpbabet, as we know it from the inscriptions, bear an unoballenged resemblance to the letters of the Semetio alphabets both northern (Phænician, Moabite, etc.) and southern (Sabæad), so much inded that the Bráhwi alph. bet has been taken as derived by so me scholars from the Pbenician and by others from the Sabæan alphabet. Tbe process adopted by Bühler to show how each letter of Brahmí developed from the Plienician alphabet can very well be reversed to prove the derivation of the Phænician from the Bráhrí script.

It may however be mentioned that the process followed by bim is not at all convincing. First he mentions the character. istics of the Brábmí alphabet as having its letters set op as straight as possible and generally equal in height, and the majority of them consisting of vertical lines with appendages attached mostly at the foot, occasionally at the foot and top, rarely in the middle, never at the top alone. At the top he says appear the ends of verticals generally, never several angles

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