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2.1.1. Indo-European does not have an old writing system to be revived with. In the regions where PIE speakers dwelled four thousand years ago, caves and stones probably still keep some ancient pictographic writings, composed of logograms (graphemes) that represent a morpheme or a whole word, as did Egyptian hieroglyphic logographs.
2.1.2. The Indo-European dialects have adopted different alphabets during the last millennia, and all of them should be usable today – although the main alphabet for today’s European Union is clearly the Latin one. This is a summary table of Proto-Indo-European phonemes and their regular corresponding letters in MIE alphabets: Greek, Latin, Cyrillic, Perso-Arabic and (alphasyllabary) Devanāgarī.
Vowels and Vocalic Allophones
|[a]||Α α||A a||Ա ա||А а||अ|
|[e]||Ε ε||E e||Ե ե||E e||ए|
|[o]||Ο ο||O o||Ո ո||О о||ओ|
|[aː]||Ᾱ ᾱ||Ā ā||ﺍ||Ա ա||Ā ā||आ|
|[eː]||Η η||Ē ē||Է է||Ē ē||ऐ|
|[oː]||Ω ω||Ō ō||Ո ո||Ō ō||औ|
|[i]||Ι ι||I i||Ի ի||И и||इ|
|[iː]||Ῑ ῑ||Ī ī||ی||Ի ի||Ӣ ӣ||ई|
|[u]||Υ υ||U u||Ւ ւ||У у||उ|
|[uː]||Ῡ ῡ||Ū ū||و||Ւ ւ||Ӯ ӯ||ऊ|
|[r̥]||Ρ ρ||R r||ﺭ||Ռ ռ||Р р||ऋ (ॠ)|
|[l̥]||Λ λ||L l||ل||Լ լ||Л л||ऌ(ॡ)|
|[m̥]||Μ μ||M m||م||Մ մ||М м||म|
|[n̥]||Ν ν||N n||ن||Ն ն||Н н||ण|
NOTE. The underdot diacritic might be used to mark the sonorants, as Ṛ ṛ, Ḷ ḷ, Ṇ ṇ, Ṃ ṃ; usually, however, sonorants appear between consonants, so it is not necessary to mark them, v.i.
Consontants and Consonantal Sounds
|[p]||Π π||P p||پ||Պ պ||П п||प|
|[b]||Β β||B b||ﺏ||Բ բ||Б б||ब|
|[bh]||Βͱ βͱ||Bh bh||ﺏﻌ||Բհ բհ||Бх бх||भ|
|[t]||Τ τ||T t||ﺕ||Տ տ||Т т||त|
|[th]||Θ θ||Th th||ﻌﺕ||Թ թ||Тх тх||थ|
|[d]||Δ δ||D d||ﺩ||Դ դ||Д д||द|
|[dh]||Δͱ δͱ||Dh dh||ذ||Դհ դհ||Дх дх||ध|
|[k]||Κ κ||K k||ک||Կ կ||К к||क|
|[kh]||Χ χ||Kh kh||کﻌ||Ք ք||Кх кх||ख|
|[g]||Γ γ||G g||گ||Գ գ||Г г||ग|
|[gh]||Γͱ γͱ||Gh gh||گﻌ||Գհ գհ||Гх гх||घ|
|[kw]||Ϙ ϙ||Q q||ق||Ք ք||Къ къ||क|
|[gw]||Γϝ γϝ||C c||ﻍ||Ղ ղ||Гъ гъ||ग|
|[gwh]||Γϝͱ γϝͱ||Ch ch||ﻍﻌ||Ղհ ղհ||Гъх гъх||घ|
|[h]||Ͱ ͱ||H h||ﻩ||Հ հ||Х х||ह|
|[j]||Ϳ ϳ||J j||ی/ژ||Յ յ, Ի ի||Й й / Ј ј||य|
|[w]||Ϝ ϝ||W w||و||Ւ ւ||У у (W w)||व|
|[r]||Ρ ρ||R r||ﺭ||Ռ ռ||Р р||र|
|[l]||Λ λ||L l||ل||Լ լ||Л л||ल|
|[m]||Μ μ||M m||م||Մ մ||М м||म|
|[n]||Ν ν||N n||ن||Ն ն||Н н||न|
|[s]||Σ σ||S s||ﺱ||Ս ս||С с||स|
The Latin Alphabet
2.1.3. The Latin Alphabet used for Modern Indo-European is similar to the English, which is in turn borrowed from the Late Latin abecedarium. We also consider some digraphs part of the alphabet, as they represent original Proto-Indo-European sounds, in contrast to those digraphs used mainly for transcriptions of loan words.
NOTE. The Latin alphabet was borrowed in very early times from the Greek alphabet and did not at first contain the letter G. The letters Y and Z were introduced still later, about 50 BC.
The names of the consonants in Indo-European are as follows - B, be (pronounced bay); Bh, bhe (bhay); C, ce (gway); Ch, che (gwhay); D, de (day); Dh, dhe (dhay); F, ef; G, ge (gay); Gh, ghe (ghay); H, ha; K, ka; L, el; M, em; N, en; P, pe; Q, qu; R, er; S, es; T, te; V, ve; W, wa; X, eks; Z, zet.
2.1.4. The Latin character C originally meant [g], a value always retained in the abbreviations C. (for Gaius) and Cn. (for Gnaeus). That was probably due to Etruscan influence, which copied it from Greek Γ, Gamma, just as later Cyrillic Г, Ge. NOTE 1. In early Latin C came also to be used for [k], and K disappeared except before in a few words, as Kal. (Kalendae), Karthago. Thus there was no distinction in writing between the sounds [g] and [k]. This defect was later remedied by forming (from C, the original [g]-letter) a new character G. Y and Z were introduced from the Greek about 50 B.C., and occur mainly in loan words in Modern Indo-European.
NOTE 2. In Modern Indo-European, C is used (taking its oldest value) to represent the Indo-European labiovelar [gw] in PIE words, while keeping its different European values – [k], [ts], [s], [θ], [ʃ], etc. – when writing proper names in the different modern IE languages.
2.1.5. The Latin [w] semivowel developed into Romance [v]; therefore V no longer adequately represented [w] and the Latin alphabet had to develop an alternative letter. Modern Indo-European uses V mainly for loan words, representing [v], while W is left for the consonantal sound [w].
NOTE. V originally denoted the vowel sound [u] (Eng. oo), and F stood for the sound of consonant [w] (from Gk. ϝ, called digamma). When F acquired the value of our [f], V came to be used for consonant [w] as well as for the vowel [u].
2.1.6. The letter I stood for the vowel [i], and was also used in Latin (as in Modern Greek) for its consonant sound [j]. J was originally developed as a swash character to end some Roman numerals in place of I; both I and J represented [i], [iː], and [j]. In MIE, J represents the semivowel [j]. In the Latin script, Y is used to represent the vowel [y] in foreign words.
NOTE. That [j] value is retained in English J only in foreign words, as Hallelujah or Jehovah. Because Romance languages developed new sounds (from former [j] and [ɡ]) that came to be represented as I and J, English J (from French J), as well as Spanish, Portuguese or Italian J have sound values quite different from [j]. Romanisation of the sound [j] from different writing systems (like Devanagari) as Y – which originally represented in Latin script the Greek vowel [y] –, due to its modern value in English, French or Spanish, has spread a common representation of [j] as Y in Indo-European studies, while J is used to represent other sounds.
2.1.7. The consonant cluster [ks] was in Ancient Greece written as X (Chi) in Western Greek, Ξ (Xi) in Eastern Greek dialects. In the end, X was standardized as [kh] ([x] in modern Greek), while Ξ represented [ks]. In the Latin script, the X stands for [ks], as in English or Latin, whereas in the Cyrillic alphabet it stands for [h] (and aspiration), as well as for [x] in foreign words.
NOTE. The Etruscans took over X from Old Western Greek, therefore it stood for [ks] in Etruscan and then in Latin, and also in most languages which today use an alphabet derived from the Roman, including English. Cyrillic X was taken with its standard Greek value [x], but is also used as [h] in those languages that need it; as, Macedonian, and Bulgarian and Serbian dialects. 2.1.8. As in Ancient and Classic Greek, in the Greek alphabet X stands for [kh], Φ for [ph], and Θ for [th].
NOTE. Because of its use in Modern Greek, they also represent (mainly foreign) [x], [f] and [θ].