Friday, November 25, 2005

Phoenician Alphabet

First, I have been reading, but not commenting on, the Tel Zayit Abecedary controversy. Somehow, conducting a functional literacy assessment for 1000 BC seemed a little daunting. However, I have now checked out all the links provided by Language Log of Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, 2005. (I can't seem to figure out how to link to these posts directly.)

I also note that Phoenician, among other writing systems, has been accepted for encoding in Unicode version 5. Proposed New Characters: Pipeline Table. So it doesn't seem out of the way to practise typing in Phoenician to get myself accustomed to a new keyboard.

Fortunately, Nizar Habash has posted a little demo here. Actually he is using some kind of frames on this site so follow Research> Human Computer Interface> Phoenician Nuun Demo (Phoenician-English Input Method.)

You can see that I have faithfully reproduced the sequence of letters from the Tel Zayit Abecedary. This keyboard is pretty intuitive and uses only two letters in the shift position: teth and sade. (I can't seem to get SMALL LETTER S WITH DOT BELOW to display for me in blogger. Maybe another day.)


I must have forgotten a snippet of code yesterday because when I went in today and defined the font as Microsoft Sans Serif the desired character was just fine, thank you very much. This is what I wanted: ṣādē.


Blogger Ben Zimmer said...

Language Log posts are here and here.

As for s-dot, does this work? ṣ

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...

The s-dot looks fine in Firefox. I was in IE at the time so I guess that explains it. Still there should be a way. I'm thinking.

Thanks for the LL linkd. So how do you do it?

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can get single posting from the archive. If you look at the addresses in those links, you'll find they have the word archive and a number identifying the posting.

The problem then is, how to find the right number for a posting? Well, there are two ways. If the posting is long enough, there is the more link on the front page, and if you follow it, you go into the archive view. You should remove the #more part from the URL you then have in your address bar.

OR, you could use the search function in LL. Enter some text from the posting you want to link to in the search box and search for it. If there are not too many hits from other postings (just pick long enough a phrase!), you'll find the posting in the search results easily. Click on the link there and you are in the archive view again!

I hope this helps.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They actually call those more links "Continue reading [on topic]" there. That's pretty obvious, but I forgot that when writing the above.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...


11:04 AM  
Blogger Ben Zimmer said...

You can also just click on the time-stamp link at the bottom of the first section of a post on the main page, or at the bottom of the complete post on one of the monthly archive pages (e.g., "Posted by Benjamin Zimmer at 03:02 PM"). Then the proper URL is in the address bar.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Ah, yes, the time stamp. And that works in blogger too. How could I have missed it!

BTW Ben I am using BabelMap to input IPA and extended Latin. Is there another way?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Ben Zimmer said...

BabelMap's good, though often I just find the character I want on this page and copy the appropriate numeric code. Blogger accepts the hexadecimal codes as input, but I think in most cases you can just copy and paste the symbol itself.

2:59 AM  
Anonymous Tim May said...

One thing which may be causing confusion about Language Log is that if you go to, you get the page running inside an invisible frame which hides the addresses of the individual pages from you, so all you ever see in the address bar is

The main page is really at, and if you go there directly, you'll get the real addresses of the archive pages in the address bar when you visit them. (Of course, there's no absolute need to do this - you can simply copy the addresses from the timestamps as Ben suggests.)

8:43 AM  

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