By W. C. WATT
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Additional resources for The Ras Shamra Matrix
For a sketch of the pre-Paninian grammarians, see Cardona 1976: 146-153 or Misra 1966: 15-17. References Allen, W. S. (1953). Phonetics in Ancient India ( = London Oriental Series 1). London: Oxford University Press. Astour, Michael C. (1981). Les frontieres et les districts du royaume d'Ugarit. UgariiForschungen 13, 1-12. Banti, Luisa (1973). Etruscan Cities and their Culture, trans, by Erika Bizzarri. Berkeley: University of California Press. Berman, Ruth Aronson (1978). Modern Hebrew Structure.
This is the standard account, for which see for example Jeffery 1961: 2, 235-238. Like some other writers, Jeffery expresses doubt that the Etruscans owed their alphabet solely to the Euboean settlers at Pithekoussai (now Ischia) and Kyme (Rome Cumae); but these misgivings have to do with the sources of one or two letters only, it seems. The standard account (and Greek legend) has the Greeks getting their alphabet from a people called the Phoenicians, but the term was not precise for the Greeks, and its modern use may mislead.
The scholarly literature on the ancient Semitic languages, while it often avoids the issue of just where /r/ was articulated, describing it simply as a 'liquida vibrante* for example (Fronzaroli 1955: 36), as often as not when it does delve into greater articulatory detail describes the sound as a trilled dento-alveolar or a 'dental liquid' (Segert 1984: 31). By happy accident the Matrix taken in isolation will accept either velar or dental characterization of/r/, given the place of 'R' in the abecedarium, since both of the appropriate cells (in IVb and Va) are available.