This paper outlines my reaction – how I felt, what I thought – as I listened to the discussion on the development of alphabet by three speakers, Eleanor Robson, Roslyn Thomas and Allan Millard, moderated by Melvyn Bragg in the BBC radio program, In Our Time.
I think that this disrupts my capability of fully understanding each of the elements and information being given. As a matter of fact, I have to pause and go back to some points and move forward – skip – to the information that is related. Unfortunately, in some instances, some information were no longer pursued because it has been supplanted by another that was more interesting to the moderator, especially. This is particularly difficult, because in the chronology of events in the alphabet development, the resource speakers were talking about several places and people.
At one point, they were talking about Egypt, then in Canaan, then in Syria, then, Egyptian scribe, Greeks, Phoenicians, among others. So there was several instances wherein I got confused. It was hard to follow how the alphabet really evolved or to understand whether there was one path of alphabet development in all of the locales mentioned. Near the end, I even found that were such categories as West Canaanites and that these people were the same as the Phoenicians.
I am not saying that the tendency to wander on some minor topics is bad in itself. Because I think they provided the necessary background in order to understand what is being explained. However, the lack of systematic or logical flow in the delivery of the information makes it a liability, imposing so much on my capability to cope with all of the information that were suddenly coming my way. There is this discussion, for instance, about how the alphabet was being used for mundane purposes and how hieroglyphics were used as the language of the powerful, then suddenly a discussion ensued about the Phoenicians, migratory movements of the Greeks and the history of city-states. I believe that these elements were important but that they could have been placed on strategic parts and explained limitedly.
The fact that the explanation of the development of the alphabet must be learned through listening from a ...
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