The Phoenician abjad had letters to represent many of the sounds we still use today when speaking. BUT, it also had letters for things like ‘glottal stops,’ when you quickly close the back of your throat to say ‘button’ or ‘kitten’ without using Ts. There was a letter for a throat-clearing that kind of sounds like ‘ecccckkkhhhh.’
All together there were a handful of letters that the Greeks simply didn’t need: Aleph, He, Yod, and Ayin. Instead of throwing them out, the Greeks gave them new sounds: A, E, I and O. Vowels, gang.
Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.