Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Matres lectionis-mothers of letters in Aramaic

The Phoenician script was mainly a consonantal script marking only consonants and because of that many ambiguities arised.In a few cases consonant letters were used both for consonants and vowels to help clarify what is being written.Its descendant the Aramaic script used them widely.These letters are called matres lectionis and despite the wide use of this system it never developed into a full-fledged alphabetic script like Greek.

The phrase matres lectionis comes from Latin and it means  'mothers of letters'.These letters indicate mostly long vowels.In Biblical Aramaic mainly four letters functioned as such while in Syriac three.

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