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L'écriture sud-arabique

By Gérard Troupeau

The writing south-Arabic, also called Himyarite, has served to note two dialects of the elders of the Yemen: The Minean and the sabéen. Derived from the Phoenician alphabet, it does note that the consonants, to the number of twenty-nine, and it reads from right to left. Attested by inscriptions since the 7th century BC, it has disappeared in the 7th century of our era. This writing, transported in Africa, has given birth to the Ethiopian writing, which is used to note the ancient language, the Ethiopic, and the new, the Amharic. But it has undergone two major changes: of consonantal she became syllabic, because it indicates the seven vowels by means of signs attached to the letters noting the twenty-six consonants, and it reads from left to right.

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