Template Talk:Alphabet
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Template Talk:Alphabet
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All the articles in "Category:Alphabetic writing systems" could (should?) be added into this porges 04:42, Mar 11, 2005 (UTC)

I don't see the need for this navbox. The category already does the same thing better. Gwalla | Talk 05:09, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I was intending something like what dab has done, but had a break for a while after so I didn't get around to doing it before he/she did :) porges 03:51, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

The template should arrange the alphabets by relationship (i.e. genetically), otherwise it's just equivalent to the category. I'll try my hand. dab (?) 14:20, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

it's just that it's a bit unwieldy now. I'm having trouble placing this template on a few articles because it messes up the layout. Also, do we want to add colour coding, e.g. one color for abjad, one for abugida, and one for fully phonematic alphabets? It will make clear that once people went from abjad to either abugida or phonematic, they stay there. dab (?) 08:04, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This list has grown far too large to fit in articles. I really think it would be more useful to show script relationships through a more granular category hierarchy than an enormous navbox. Gwalla | Talk 18:03, 9 May 2005 (UTC)


it's difficult to classify alphabets as genetically related, in cases where the characters didn't just evolve through "wear and tear" but a concious act of invention intervened. The alphabets not listed as dependent on Proto-Canaanite are suggested to be original inventions. Glagolitic was invented by one man in the 9th century, but it is obvious that it is partly inspired by the Greek alphabet. So it is quite ok to list it as dependent on Greek, but it should be above, not below cyrillic, since it is slightly older. Armenian is another case of an "invented" alphabet. It its case, there is no clear dependency on earlier alphabets, so I think we should properly leave it listed as an original invention. dab (?) 07:54, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Why is this a template

I fail to see the point of including a list of every alphabet on every alphabet page. This list should just be included on alphabet, and anyone who wants to see a list of every alphabet can go to that page to see it. Adding a list of every alphabet to every alphabet page adds needless clutter. This is why we have categories. Nohat 00:21, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

indeed not! the template should give a brief overview of evolution and major alphabets used today. individual cases should be discussed here, I don't know if we really need the deeply-nested Devanagari entry since we have the brahmi one (I included it because the Devanagari is the Brahmi descendent in wide use today), or Thai. But the list shouldn't be longer than 20 or so entries, otherwise to a genesis of the alphabet or list of alphabets article! dab (?) 12:36, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Someone deleted the Middle Bronze Age script and Brahmi. Since one was the first known abjad, and the other the first abugida, these are relevant, no? kwami 05:00, 2005 May 15 (UTC)
sorry, yeah. We could just link the Brahmic family, for simplicity. More detail will be accessible from there. My point was not that this is the final version of the template, just that further additions or removals should be justified, with a view of not blowing the template out of proportion. dab (?) 11:12, 15 May 2005 (UTC)


This template survived a TFD nomination - see popflock.com Resource: Templates_for_deletion/Log/Not_deleted/May_2005#Template:Alphabet. Radiant_* 08:47, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

I moved Hebrew to a descendant of Aramaic with a corrected date, replaced the existing 9th century Hebrew link to Paleo-Hebrew and added its closely relating descendant, Samaritan.

I also added the Cherokee syllabary as a descendant of Latin, which it sort of is, at least in letterform - 24 are borrowed wholesale from latin majuscule and miniscule. Anyway, it's certainly notable enough to merit inclusion.

Speaking of which, would it be correct to note the development of lower-case lettering here, or is that considered a font rather than an alphabet? --April Arcus 09:51, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This template tends to grow and grow until it's unmanageable, so no, I think we should leave out stylistic variants like miniscules. (Someone once added most of the Indic abugidas.) While you were writing this, I'd already deleted Cherokee. It's not an alphabet. However, I do think Canadian syllabics should be included - what do you think? Glad you put Samaritan in and disambiguated Hebrew; I took out Gothic as being too minor to warrant inclusion here. (Actually, Coptic should go too.) Basically, we should be left with important historical developments or alphabets of significant interest, not minor vaiants like Coptic. Ethiopic should be included, though. kwami 10:10, 2005 Jun 13 (UTC)
Tsalagi (Cherokee) and Canadian Syllabics are both syllabaries. If this template is about alphabets in the narrow sense (ie, not abjads and not syllabaries) then neither should be here (nor some of the others). I agree with other comments that this would be better as an article, not a template; and linking to other alphabets would be better achieved with categories such as 'alpahbet' and 'writing system'.--Nantonos 01:14, 10 July 2005 (UTC)
No, Cherokee is a syllabary, but Canadian syllabics is an alphabet, despite its name. There is a single letter for /k/, another for /s/, etc, and these symbols are modified to indicate vowels. This is characteristic of a subtype of alphabet called an abugida, as explained in the alphabet article. Cherokee is different: like Japanese kana, there is no graphic relationship between /ka/ and /ki/, or /sa/ and /si/. Each syllable is independent, making it a syllabary.
Oops, reading this again, I see that you understand the basics. It should be pretty obvious that this template is for 'alphabet' in the broad sense of a segmental script, however, given all the abjads and abugidas that are included in it. kwami
Personally, I like having the template, and I miss it when reading articles on alphabets that don't yet have it. kwami 02:20, 2005 July 10 (UTC)
Well, the most interesting thing about this template is that it tracks the evolution of various scripts. Perhaps this would be best suited for its own article. How do you feel about the inclusion of the (nearly identical) paleo-hebrew and samaritan scripts? I feel like the latter is notable enough to be worth keeping, and therefore I'd also rather keep the former, in the interest of cladistics. And on a purely digressive note, the cherokee language was particularly suited for syllabic writing - I imagine if the ancient Greeks were speaking Cherokee at the time they met the Phoenecians, they would have devized a syllabary rather than adopting vowel characters. Of course, that's neither here nor there. --April Arcus 10:50, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

this template is supposed to give an overview of the evolution of the alphabet ("the" alphabet as in the concept). Evolution of minuscule or cursive forms clearly cannot be included, since that's part of the evolution of a particular alphabet. The Cherokee syllabary is interesting in that it is the only(?) syllabary descended from an alphabet. Which somehow shows that it isn't really descended, i.e. the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary wasn't familiar with the idea of an alphabet. We should really keep the list to a minimum of the most notable alphabets. You can do a list of as many as you like on List of alphabets (which is incidentally very poor, and should be expanded, reordered and commented upon). dab (?) 10:36, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

How do you feel about the inclusion of Hangul, Cree, etc. then? They're certainly not alphabets in the sense of "the alphabet", the aleph-bet sense. If the template is only for the evolution of the phoenecian script, they should not be included (and Cherokee, syllabic nature aside, probably should), but was that the intent? --April Arcus 10:54, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
We're starting to get into historical interpretation here. I'm fairly convinced that hangul is one of the Phoenecian family, for example, while others are equally convinced that devanagari is not. Also, Cree is derived from British shorthand. Are you prepared to substantiate a claim that Pitman is not derived from the alphabet? (Very possibly true, but I wouldn't want to bet on it.) What about Maldivian - is that sufficiently connected to be considered part of the alep-bet family? And there are scripts which appear to be derived from other alphabets historically, such as Georgian and Armenian, but where there isn't much direct evidence. We could argue forever on such things. It's much easier to say which scripts are segmental. That is, to illustrate the dispersal of alphabetic scripts, regardless of the graphic origin of their glyphs. As for Cherokee, there are other invented syllabic scripts derived graphically from alphabets or abugidas, but perhaps not enough to be a problem. I have a feeling it would get reverted a lot, though. kwami 21:28, 2005 Jun 13 (UTC)
P.S. Some other syllabic scripts that were graphically derived from alphabets: the Alaska script for Yuppik (e.g., a glyph derived from cursive good represents the syllable [kut]); the Woleaian script in the Caroline Islands (the Latin letter b represents [bi], etc. through the whole alphabet, with other syllables invented or derived from katakana); the Pahawh Hmong script is 'demisyllabic' (onset+rime: many onset glyphs are apparently derived from both Lao and Latin, so that e.g. R stands for [m], [tsh], and [q], depending on its diacritic).
Would there be a way to have this template link into other templates? I've seen it done before. We could make this template the template for significant developments, and have each of those link into another template that displays all the variants, major and minor, of that significant development. For instance, Greek could link to a page for "Greek-derived scripts" that has a template "The Greek Derived" Scripts including Coptic, Gothic etc. Cyrillic and Latin, though both ulitmately Greek-derived would still have their own branches on the tree as significant departures. The sub-template could link back into the larger alphabet template somehow. What does everyone think? --Jpbrenna 19:41, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think that's a wonderful idea. kwami 21:28, 2005 Jun 13 (UTC)
Unnecessarily complicated. We should rebuild the template, and our discussion here, into an article. Articles on individual scripts can be given infobox templates charting their descent, as is done on the Languages WikiProject. --April Arcus 22:22, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I still think it's a good idea. Turning the template into an article has already been voted down once. kwami 07:30, 2005 July 10 (UTC)

This template is woeful

Frankly, and I say this as an expert in the world's writing systems, this template sucks. It is too big and it clutters a lot of articles. It is incomplete, and would be four times the length were it to go anywhere near completion. The discussion on the TfD and here on this talk page shows clearly that it's been put together by amateurs. There is a place for the History of the alphabet, and that is in an actual article where the interesting facts and relationships can be recorded, and where expertise can be applied to improve the article. Please spend your energy on the History of the alphabet. A template is not the place for history. Evertype 07:55, July 10, 2005 (UTC)

I think you miss the point: it's not meant to be anywhere near complete, only a basic outline.
Yes, but it isn't very accurate. Come on, people. Cyrillic derives from Glagolitic? Pure amateurism. AND it clutters up articles. Evertype 20:48, July 10, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, Glagolitic is a booboo. I imagine runes are too, since (if I remember correctly) they're only attested well after the development of classical Latin.
It would be nice if you started that article, since there isn't much of anything there now, expert or otherwise. Or if you were to improve this template so it didn't suck so much. 09:02, 10 July 2005 (UTC)
There is no saving this template. Turn it into an article and I will help to improve it. But I don't have the time to start it. Deal? Evertype 20:48, July 10, 2005 (UTC)
I had put in a halfway decent start some time ago in the Alphabet#History and diffusion article. That could simply be moved to History of the alphabet (Done, except for the last couple paragraphs - also changed the capitalization of your links above, hope you don't mind) and expanded on there. If people don't like this template, it could simply be deleted. Except for a few dates, it wouldn't add much. kwami 22:28, 2005 July 10 (UTC)

Somewaht pointless to repeat what I've already said in TfD, but I can't help: en.wikipedia suffers from template creep, especially thise wonderfull "theme ringe" templates. And this one is a major offender. --Pjacobi 21:52, July 10, 2005 (UTC)

There are a number of people, myself included, who like using templates for navigation. Perhaps we're using different screen resolutions, or have different sized monitors, because I don't find them cluttering at all. Maybe we could have a horizontal template at the bottom of the script articles, with major categories such as origins, abjad, true alphabet, abugida, syllabary, logography etc.? Or subcategories thereof. It seems that people who are just discovering the variety of scripts in the world like having the template to guide them. Most of the people objecting to it already know what's what — but then, except as editors, there isn't much reason for them to be reading these articles. I think we should gear our articles to the naive reader, not to the editor. kwami 22:28, 2005 July 10 (UTC)

with all due respect, Evertype, I think you are missing the point of this template. It does not aim to replace an article. Details will always have to be explained, well, in detail. For example, is Glagolitic descended from Greek? Yes, in a way. Is the Armenian alphabet ...well... sort of. That's not the point. The point is to give a rough sketch of the world's major alphabets, in roughly genetical arrangement. I agree it is getting cluttered again, and some less prominent entries should go. But I do think the template can be useful. dab (?) 17:17, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

No, this template has little use but to clutter useful articles with shoddy and inaccurate research. It is impossible to give a decent and useful sketch of this in a popflock.com resource template. Evertype 16:21, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
well that's, like, your opinion. If it was up to me, I would cut it down to about half its present size, keeping only the most notable alphabets, and keep it in place as a navigation box, arranging the entries roughly chronologically rather than, well, alphabetically. In fact, I will remove some minor alphabets now ("Cree" is hardly notable for the development of the alphabet), and see what happens. dab (?) 07:09, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that's my opinion. Even here, you've decided to keep only "the most notable alphabets". Therefore the historical-relationship template will be incomplete and inaccurate and misleading. That is a pointless exercise. Evertype 09:18, August 1, 2005 (UTC)
on second thoughts, maybe we would be better off with a small Template:writing systems giving the most important links, including a list of alphabets where such a list may be attempted with more leisure. dab (?) 07:22, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
"The most important links" being what? Evertype 09:18, August 1, 2005 (UTC)

Era and consistency

The Aramaic alphabet article had a couple of dates listed with the BCE era, and the article was consistent in that style. However, these were changed to BC so as to be consistent with this template. As I feel that BCE is the right format for dates in the article in question, and the status of this template is questioned, I changed he dates in the article back to BCE. If we are going to use this template, perhaps we should look to the consistency between eras in articles and this template. --Gareth Hughes 20:00, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

the eras! consistency will be difficult to achieve. In articles I get to decide, I take great care to use BC consistently. There will be no solution to this anytime soon, so changing things to and fro seems a bit pointless. dab (?) 07:11, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
It is the usual practice in the study of writing systems to use CE/BCE, because the dates rarely have anything to do with the Christian religion per se. That policy ought to be general on alphabet articles throughout the Wikipedia. Evertype 09:24, August 1, 2005 (UTC)
It's more than that: as soon as you start studying abjads & abugidas, you're dealing with mostly non-Christian peoples, and using BC/AD strikes many as being imperialistic. For the same reason, CE/BCE is generally used when discussing religion. kwami 10:52, 2005 August 1 (UTC)


Assuming we keep this template, what are our standards for including a script? We've gotten rid of Hangul, a quite remarkable alphabet, but still have Samaritan and someone put Old Italic back in. If this is to be used for navigation, Old Italic is minor compared to Hangul, Georgian, or Cree.

This template is a mess. I think that the historical evolutionary aspect is mainly to blame. What would be far better would be to replace this template with one that grouped writing systems together according to type. --Gareth Hughes 13:32, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
ok, so there are just too many alphabets. How about we scrap this template, and do a Template:Writing systems, linking, at least

dab (?) 13:45, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

I would be very happy just to scrap this template and not to have to have all the articles cluttered with a typological template. A link to Writing system is enough. Your energies, Dab, are better spent improving articles. Evertype 14:26, July 26, 2005 (UTC)
you may want to check my recent contributions before you get on the high horse. I recognize you as versed in the topic, but unfortunately that seems to make you take a rather condescending attitude. I resent your implications of cluelessness. My suggestion is to have a clean and useful template. If you do not like templates on principle, that is a matter of taste and has no relation to your expertise on the subject. Yes, there is such a thing as template-creep, for example on the Hinduism articles, but that doesn't make templates per se a bad thing. You seem to have templatophobia, if there is such a thing. dab (?) 09:11, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
All I've ever said is that this template isn't salvageable, and the attempt to summarize alphabet history in a template is misguided. None of you have been able to make the alphabet-history template accurate, and in my opinion it is a waste of your (collective) energies, which could be better spent improving actual articles, including an article about alphabet history. I do not dislike templates, where they are useful. I dislike bad ones, like this one. Evertype 09:15, August 1, 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I do think that it might be useful to have a navigational template that can be added to articles on writing systems. If the template were to be modular, it could simply show links to related writing systems alongside links to more general articles. --Gareth Hughes 16:05, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Just a thought - would a horizontally-oriented template that can be clipped onto the bottom of articles be better?
I think that's a good idea. Once vertical templates get unmanageable, it is a good idea to morph them into horizontal ones and stash them to the bottom of articles. dab (?) 18:44, 31 July 2005 (UTC)


Runes have been repeatedly moved to branch off Old Italic rather than Latin. Why? There was no longer an Old Italic script when the runes were first written. Given the level of detail elsewhere, do we even need Old Italic? kwami 19:14, 2005 August 9 (UTC)

Runes could be considered a member of the Old Italic alphabets (not that they are, by convention, of course). The Old Italic group is clearly important, parent to the runes, so the runes could not even be rendered without it, in the present scheme.

But note the suggestions for reorganization above. I do suppose this template is clutter at this point, and should be made horizontal (and go to the bottom of articles). dab (?) 19:20, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Why do you say "Runes could be considered a member of the Old Italic alphabets"? Are you saying that they do not derive from the Latin alphabet? kwami 21:35, 2005 August 9 (UTC)
Good heavens, you people. Runes derive from the Alpine scripts, not directly from Old Italic. Evertype 16:06, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
care to compare notes over at "Alpine scripts" and Runic alphabet, then? dab (?) 21:31, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Alphabet POV

Cree can be classified as abugida, but Hangul is an alphabetic writing system. If the purpose of this template is to show the lineage between Western alphabetic systems, how about to consider changing the title? --Puzzlet Chung 04:58, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

We had both Cree and Hangul in the template (abugidas are included; after all, we have Brahmi and Thai), but someone took them out. Perhaps this was because they are not usually considered to be direct descendents of the first alphabet. Personally, I think they both belong, along with Georgian and Armenian. kwami 05:35, 2005 August 26 (UTC)

No matter it is the descendent of another, Hangul should be mentioned when the template is supposed to deal with alphabets. --Puzzlet Chung 02:56, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

I think so too. dab (?) 21:31, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
All those in favor of restoring Hangul, Georgian, and Cree? kwami 22:29, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Ge'ez Date


See this page and click on Hawulti inscription (date fromm 5-6th century BC and is definitely Ge'ez). I don't have time to give more links right now, but I'll add some more later.

Yom 14:52, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

The inscription obviously looks very different from modern Ge'ez and it looks similar to the South Arabian alphabet. Now, with my sketchy knowledge of the latter I cannot read it, so that's one for Ge'ez. However, it would be important to ask if vocalisations are an integral feature of the Ge'ez writing system. As it is classed as an abugida, the vocalisations are important. However, the script in question is clearly an abjad. --Gareth Hughes 15:47, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
It's not quite South Arabian, note the first letter Hawt of the word "Hawulti" is upside-down from S. Arabian, as in Geez, and the other letter forms are also closer to Geez... At a minimum, it is intermediary between the two (being an abjad) but the letter shapes are already the Geez ones... (?) 16:58, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Ge'ez and South Arabian script look very similar, but they are not the same. The text I linked too is certainly Ge'ez and not South Arabian. The only difference is the Ge'ez is unvocalized (the inscriptions in Ge'ez up to the 4th century are unvocalized as well, but no one says that they are not Ge'ez and are instead South Arabian or an intermediate form). (Let's not forget the possibility of the vocalization occuring earlier and an archaic style being used as well, too - though this is almost certainly not such an example) All letters there are almost identical to the modern forms; the only thing that gives me pause in reading it are the vertical | lines used as spacers instead of the modern : two dots in the shape of a colon. Every other letter varies fom modern letters much less than even the most precise of handwritting (other than the very precise writing of the priests).
Yom 17:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that by turning some of the letters upside down you get a good glimpse of South Arabian. The language of the inscription is obviously Ge'ez, rather than South Arabian. However, it is useful to distinguish between which language the text is in, and which writing system is used. The writing system is clearly not classical Ge'ez, chiefly because it is an abjad rather than an abugida. I would suggest that the writing system used in this inscription and classical Ge'ez are as closely related as the Phoenician abjad and the Greek alphabetic script. The latter is clearly derived from the former, but there has been a Sea Change. In Ethiopia, vocalisations create the abugida; in Greece, vowel letters create a fully alphabetic system. Do you think I'm storing too much importance in the lack of vocalisations? --Gareth Hughes 18:34, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I believe the writing system can indeed be said to be Ge'ez. As I said earlier, there are unvocalized texts prior to the 4th century that are still called Ge'ez (though the rulers may have been purposely using an out-of-date alphabet, according to Roger Schneider, who is quoted in the Ge'z Abugida article), the only difference being the vocalization. The vocalization is certainly important, but really the vocalization is not that different from the addition of vowel marks or diacritics. Certainly today the letters are learned as wholes (and not by the original letters + various vocalization rules), but in general a few vocalization rules for the changing of basic letters exist, unlike abugidas like Japanese, where ka and ki don't look at all like each other. Unless we separate the vocalized Ge'ez of the 4th century from the unvocalized Ge'ez of the 3rd Century~, though, the 5-6th century Ge'ez Script should still be called Ge'ez, even if it's an abjad and not an abugida. Perhaps the Template should have Ge'ez Abjad and then a Ge'ez Abugida subset under it? I feel that that might be too specific for an alphabetic transition that's not as important as those included in the current template, though.
~(Old and New/Classical Ge'ez? Or perhaps Old would denote a script separate from Proto-Sinaitic but not quite 500 BCE Ge'ez yet, Middle would be unvocalized Ge'ez whose forms are identical to modern bases, and Classical or New would be vocalized? - none of this is for Wikizens to decide, though).
Yom 20:18, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Here is the Hawulti Inscription as well as the modern Ge'ez letters (the first form with the -eh (a with umlauts) vowel ending, not the actual vowel forms in the words).



As you can see the letters are almost identical. The only real change is that the more modern letters are a bit more rounded than the generally sharper older letters. This only came about in the 17th century (http://www.abyssiniacybergateway.net/fidel/HISTORY.txt), so essentially, aside from the vocalization and later addition of new sounds, the alphabet has not changed very much. The original letters, in fact, have barely changed at all. Its only the addition of new letters (through vocalization and new consonants due to Agaw substratum) that has changed the alphabet. The script is most certainly Ge'ez also because it's easily distinguishable from SA. First of all, the "h" in the second line, 2nd word, last letter (first h in the halehame or HLHM order) in the script is definitely Ge'ez as it lacks a straight line under it. Secondly, the "f" in the 4th line, first word, 3rd letter, is without a doubt Ge'ez as the SA version is simply a diamond shape. Thirdly, the "t" e.g. first line, first word, last letter) cannot be SA because in SA it is more like an X than a cross. The "h." (e.g. first line, first word, second letter), which is the second H in HLHM order, is upside down in SA as well, which is not the case in this inscription. "m" (second line, second word, 3rd letter) is also sidewise in SA, but not here, and "s." or "d." or "ts" (fourth line, second word, second letter) has 3 legs and a small head in SA, whereas here it has a medium or large head and only 2 legs like in Ge'ez. The "R" in the table below is also very different from the "R" used above, as is the "Z" (although less visibly so). This site shows some slightly different SA letters (closer to what I have seen), where the "R" and "Z" are much closer to Ge'ez (though in the "Z" case, it apparently is "dj" in SA?)
h l ? m ? r s ? b t ? n ? k w ? z y g d ? ? ? f
Ge'ez ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
South Arabian h l ? m ? r ? ? t ? n ? k w ? z y g d ? ? ? f
No SA "B" is shown here, but it is the same as in Ge'ez (just boxier like in pre-17th century Ge'ez).
Yom 21:29, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
would it be wise to move this debate to Talk:Ge'ez alphabet at this point? dab (?) 21:45, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
It would. I'll do that now. If anyone has any objections of what I've posted make it at the Ge'ez Alphabet debate.Yom 22:08, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Two points. First, to avoid confusion, kana is not an abugida, but rather a syllabary. Abugidas are segmental, syllabaries are not.

Second, Daniels and Bright briefly discuss unvocalized Ge'ez texts prior to 350 CE, but only from the first millennium. They give a couple distinctions between Ge'ez and South Arabian, such as the Greek influence, and mention that the available models for Ge'ez were South Arabian and Greek. Their clear implication is that BC-era inscriptions are in either South Arabian or Greek, not the Ge'ez script (though they may be in the Ge'ez language). I'm not saying they're correct on the dates, just something we need to account for. kwami 01:59, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

My mistake on Japanese. With regard to South Arabian script (and Greek, which the above obviously is not), the inscription on the Hawulti is easily distinguished from South Arabian by the differences I mentioned above. Whether or not Daniels and Bright knew about this Hawulti (although it has been known about for over 100 years) does not decide whether or not it is Ge'ez (script). Their book (although I have not read it) concerns itself with all the world scripts and only devotes one section (apparently Chapter 51; I have no idea how long it is) to Ge'ez script and its descendants (and predecessors). Why should we simply accept their assertion when evidence so clearly contradicts it?
Let's move the discussion to Talk:Ge'ez alphabet, by the way. Yom 03:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, as this page is for discussing the template, I would suggest that the earlier date be used with a qualification. Rather than saying Ge'ez, I suggest that we write Old Ge'ez, or, if that is too odd, Consonantal Ge'ez. The underlying link could still be to Ge'ez alphabet, but the text clearly says that we are not saying that the classical abugida was extant at this early period. I agree with Yom and CS that enough transition has occured to say that this is no longer South Arabian, but the early Ethiopian modification of it. --Gareth Hughes 13:40, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
The language is definitely Geez, the people speaking it were already calling it Geez, and the shape of the glyphs is definitely Geez. The only difference from later Geez writings is the lack of vocalisation. So I agree that calling it "Old Geez" is infinitely more appropriate than calling it "South Arabian" (which is slightly different); and for purposes of this template, your idea is a good one - put the older date for "Old Geez alphabet" (or abjad) and link it to Geez, the same as the newer date for the a-bu-gi-da. -- (?) 14:16, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

balancing East & West a bit more

I can understand a bias toward Western Europe, considering that we use the Latin and Greek alphabets in English, and a lot of people have an interest in runes, but this outline was starting to lean a little too far West in my opinion. Therefore I took out Celtiberian, Anatolian, and Coptic as relatively minor variants of Iberian and Greek; and added in Tibetan, Khmer, Javanese, and (questionably) Hangul to better represent that side of the family.

Also, (Old) Canaanite and Phoenician are the same script; anything before 1050 BCE is called Canaanite, and anything from 1050 on is called Phoenician. Hardly reason for the distinction we had made. We also don't know that South Arabic is independent from Canaanite/Phoenician, though that is sometimes supposed. kwami 19:01, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Anatolia is in the *West* now? The Turks will be pleased :) (sorry). Seriously, the reason is that the whole "history of the alphabet" thing is centered around the Mediterranian, this is not selectional bias, it's inherent. I have nothing against Hangul, but list it either at the bottom or not at all, the list indentation is deep enough as it is. I can live with the Anatolian alphabets not listed here, seeing that they don't even form a genetic unity, but they are too often ignored, they are not just some obscure alphabet but an entire group emerging at exactly the crucial time of the invention of the alphabet proper (i.e., vowel signs), and are hence extremely relevant to a historical discussion. dab (?) 10:46, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm sympathetic, but there's so much we're already leaving out. I figure we should have the major branching points, plus scripts of religions and modern states, though I can see abbreviating India & SE Asia. I wouldn't support Etruscan if it weren't of particular interest to users of the Latin alphabet.
Yeah, I guess Turkey's supposed to be East, but even Iran always seemed rather Western to me. Maybe I'm just odd. kwami 11:18, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

How about some input on what to include? We want to avoid bloat, of course, but probably want to keep the outlines of the family intact.

  • Ugaritic was removed for not being ancestral to Aramaic, though the template ddidn't say that it was. It's been there for a long time. Historical interest, but no modern relevance - rather like Iberian, which we've kept.
  • Mongolian as the only modern descendent of Syriac; it also represents the Central Asian branch, which otherwise is not represented.
  • Hangul, as a very interesting script and the script of an economically important country.
  • Berber.
  • On the other hand, removal of Gothic, Glagolitic, Armenian could be justified as much as keeping out the above.

Considerations? kwami 01:42, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

similarites between Armenian and Ge'ez?


I have a question to the group. Please don't laugh at this story. Recently I bought a can of ethiopian coffee and was astonished to see writings on the can in an alphabet that resembled Armenian very much. I could recognize some of the letters as "Armenian". After browsing thru the internet, I suspect the alphabet is Ge'ez. I am not a linguist or historian. Could anybody please enlighten me if there are indeed any similarities between Armenian and any of the Ethiopian alphabets?

Thanks!! Lynist

I answered to this earlier, but my computer crashed. I'll answer more completely later, but the short answer is "yes, there are similarities," but they are largely superficial (i.e. it won't help you predict the sound of the letter in the other alphabet), though some scholars propose that Armenian was created after a trip to Ethiopia (in the time of the Kingdom of Aksum) that inspired mesrop. — (Yom) | contribs o Talk 02:17, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


ahem, the Proto-Canaanite alphabet is a "minor variant" of what? It is the archetype of all the NW Semitic abjads, and as such of crucial importance of a genealogical chart of alphabets... dab (?) 18:35, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Dates of some alphabets

The greek alphabet is said to have started in early 8th century BCE (cf its popflock.com resource entry). But the summary box on the right side of the page has 9th century BCE. Shouldnt it be changed to 8th century BCE ?

Same thing with the hebrew alphabet, the modern version based on the "square script" was adopted in the 6th century BCE, but the summary box has 3rd century BCE. Any objections if I change it to 6th century BCE ? --Squallgreg (talk) 13:20, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, 8th c for Greek.
A Judean variant of the Aramaic script didn't emerge until the 3rd c BCE, so no, 6th would be wrong. Before that, it was simply Imperial Aramaic. kwami (talk) 23:36, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Can't expand the template

When this template is collapsed, the "show" control overlaps the title, and can't be clicked (in the latest Safari/Mac 3.1.2). --Michael Z. 2008-10-29 18:41 z

Can someone make a horizontal version of this template?

As an editor, I find this template really annoying. It gets in the way of thumbnail images that I want to be displayed with a certain section. It would be nice to have a version of this template so we can dump at the bottom of the article (so those that want to browse by this template can still do so). --Dara (talk) 19:26, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

There are some articles that use this template AND the Brahmi template... And I would rather have them at the bottom of the page so that the space on the right can be used for thumbnail images that are actually related to the article sections. --Dara (talk) 19:30, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Removal of Brahmic Family and Kharosthi

I removed Brahmic Family and Kharosthi from this list as they aren't alphabets. They are Abugida. They can be said pseudo-Alphabets, but I believe they aren't anywhere near to be called alphabets. Devanagari have a complex system of compound syllables. They all are more of a syllable scripts... --Rawal of Jaisalmer (talk) 09:49, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Yet you did not remove the other "pseudo-alphabets" Arabic, Hebrew, and Phoenician. I restored the full table (apart from Telugu being non-Brahmic, which is silly). -- kwami (talk) 00:12, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Rovas Scripts

The improvements are based on the following literature: Gábor Hosszú: Heritage of Scribes. It is fully available from the Google Books at http://books.google.hu/books?printsec=frontcover&id=TyK8azCqC34C -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Rovasscript (talk o contribs) 15:13, 30 December 2011 (UTC) Sorry, previously I forgot to sign. Rovasscript (talk) 17:26, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

These "scripts" are a fiction. -- Evertype·? 11:17, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Hieroglyphs and Proto-Sinaitic

If the Proto-Sinaitic is descended from the hieroglyphs of Egypt, shouldn't that be mentioned in this template?

Anonymous173.57.44.147 (talk) 17:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

abbreviations (circa/century)

Use of circa and century is inconsistent. Both are abbreviated as (c.) and this is slightly confusing. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Why hangul is Chinese family?

Unlike Kana, Ch? Nôm, or bofomopo, which is derivation of Chinese character, hangul is NOT derivation of chinese character, but it placed inside chinese family. Should be moved to somewhere else. (talk) 06:22, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Alphabetize in see also

@Hyacinth: I'm not sure how {{Alphabetize}} is related to this template. They both share similar names, but they diverge significantly in their purposes. I've removed it; you are welcome to revert, preferably with explanation here. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) e?i (talk | contribs) 19:48, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

@E to the Pi times i: Per MOS:SEEALSO: "The links in the 'See also' section might be only indirectly related to the topic of the article because one purpose of "See also" links is to enable readers to explore tangentially related topics." The term "alphabetize" is a verb who's root is the term "alphabet". It seems reasonable to assume that some people looking for {{Alphabetize}} might go to {{Alphabet}}, in which case having a see also section would help users navigate. The difference between the purpose of the two templates only heightens the need for easy exploration and the inclusion of {{Alphabetize}} in the "See also" section does not appear to have any drawbacks. Hyacinth (talk) 03:34, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

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