Aramaic endorsements on business documents repeating in Aramaic transliteration the names of parties mentioned in the texts have also been of service in fixing the phonetic readings of names.
Working with some inscriptions from Persepolis which were found to contain references to Darius and Xerxes, Grotefend had established the phonetic values of certain of the Persian characters, and his successors were perfecting the discovery just about the time when the new Assyrian finds were made.
Phonetic values known, Assyrian was found to be a Semitic language cognate to Hebrew.
Thus the word ag = the sign RAM = rdmu, " love " (proper meaning) is associated with ramdmu, " to roar," for phonetic reasons only.
The existence and general phonetic character of the " woman's language " were first pointed out by Professor Paul Haupt, 5 R.
Who cited, for example, the following very common interdialectic variations: Eme-ku gir=Eme-sal meri, " foot "; Eme-ku ner =Eme-sal sher, " ruler "; Eme-ku duga=Eme-sal zeba, " knee," &c. Such phonetic and dialectic changes, so different from any of the Semitic linguistic phenomena, are all the more valuable because they are set before us only by means of Semitic equivalents.
Until, therefore, through parallel passages or through explanatory lists prepared by the Babylonian and Assyrian scribes in large numbers as an aid for the study of the language, 5 the exact phonetic reading of these divine names was determined, scholars remained in doubt or had recourse to conjectural or provisional readings.
It has been translated into Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Welsh, Polish, Gaelic, Russian, Bohemian, Dutch, Catalan, Chinese, modern Greek and phonetic writing.
The introduction of the important compensation of tones to balance phonetic losses had begun several centuries before, as appears from a Tibetan MS. (No.
Thence the difficulty of substituting our phonetic alphabet for the ideographic characters of the Chinese, as well as for the ideophonetic writing partly borrowed by the Annamese from the letters of the celestial empire.
To the Jesuit missionaries is due the introduction of an ingenious though very complicated system, which has caused remarkable progress to be made in the employment of phonetic characters.
Certain classes of names being explained in this way, legitimate and fairly reliable conclusions can be drawn for many others belonging to the same class or group. The proper names of the numerous business documents of the Khammurabi period, when phonetic writing was the fashion, have been of special value in resolving doubts as to the correct reading of names written ideographically.
The analogy of this to the manner in which the Egyptian hieroglyphs passed into phonetic signs is remarkable, and writing might have been invented anew in Mexico had it not been for the Spanish conquest.
The vowels are a, i, u, e, o, which are not distinguished as long or short in writing, except in loan words transcribed from the Sanskrit, &c., though they are so in the vernaculars in the case of words altered by phonetic detrition.
Sumerian presents a significant list of internal phonetic variations which would not have been possible in an arbitrarily invented language.
In the case of texts from the oldest historical periods we encounter hundreds of names that are genuinely Sumerian, and here in view of the multiplicity of the phonetic values attaching to the signs used it is frequently difficult definitely to determine the reading of the names.
King of the country E."), Sayce distributed phonetic values, corresponding to the syllables of the two proper names, among four of the Hittite characters, reserving two as " ideograms " of " king " and " country " and launched into the field of decipherment.
Potent, however, as such a vehicle is for expressing thought, its ideographic script constitutes a great obstacle to general acquisition, and the Japanese soon applied themselves to minimizing the difficulty by substituting a phonetic system.
But while every one appreciates the magnitude of the relief that would thus be afforded, there has as yet been little substantial progress A language which has been adapted from its infancy to ideographi transmission cannot easily be fitted to phonetic uses.
Assuming, then, that the proper names found in the Persian portion of the Behistun inscription occurred also in the Assyrian portion, retaining virtually the same sound in each, a clue to the phonetic values of a large number of the Assyrian characters was obviously at hand.
Brinton, The American Race (New York, 1891) and Ancient Phonetic Alphabets of Yucatan; Desire Charnay, The Ancient Cities of the New World (Transl.
These are (1) the origin of the cuneiform signs, (2) the etymology of the phonetic values, and (3) the elucidation of the many and varied primitive sign-meanings.
The history of some of the alphabetic signs is still very obscure but a sufficient number of them have been explained to make it nearly certain that the values of all were obtained on the same principles.i Some of the ancient words from which the phonetic values were derived probably fell very early into disuse, and may, never be discoverable in the texts that have come down to us.
Further, owing to the vast number of signs employed, to prevent confusion of one with another in rapid writing they were generally provided with phonetic complements, a group being less easily misread than a single letter.
Biliteral phonograms are very rare as phonetic complements, nor are two biliteral phonograms employed together in writing the radicals of a word.
- Spelling of words purely in phonetic or even alphabetic characters is not uncommon, the determinative being generally added.
A great advance was therefore made when several homophones were introduced into the alphabet in the Middle and New Kingdoms, partly as the result of the wearing away of old phonetic distinctions, ~iving the choice between ..-.
W~c1-sign - Phonetic, ~) child hrd (khrod)
Some phonetic characteristics of the dialect may be regarded as quite certain; (I) the change of the original short o to a (as in the last syllable of the genitive kalatoras); (2) of final -m to -n (as in g ran); (3) of -ni- -ti- -si- respectively to -nn- -to- and -ss- as in dazohonnes " Dasonius," dazohonnihi " Dasonii"; dazetOes, gen.
The forms of the Danish king's name given by the Frankish historians are corruptions of the name of which the primitive Germanic form was Hugilaikaz, and which by regular phonetic change became in Old English Hygelac, and in Old Norse Hugleikr.
Yet, even in those days, the Babylonian syllabary continued to be a mixture of ideographic and phonetic writing.