Syriac Alphabet


The Syriac alphabet originated from the  Aramaic 10840–1085F alphabet, which in turn came from the  Phoenician 10900–1091F alphabet. It has been in use since the 1st century CE to the present day. The alphabet consists of 22 letters without capital ones. Proper names start with lowercase letters. Moreover, all the letters are cursive and can connect to the preceding word. However, not all of them can join with the following letters of the same word that they begin with. The writing direction is from right to left. There were no separate letters for vowel sounds; they were indicated using diacritical marks.

Initially, around the 5th century, the Syriac alphabet was written in a script called “Estrangelo.” Later, the Syrian Church split into Nestorian and Jacobite factions, and they began to write it differently. The Jacobite (Western Syriac) script is called “Serto,” and it was used to write books from the late 8th century. Eight vowel sounds (four long and four short) were represented by dots above and below the letters. The Nestorian (Eastern Syriac) script is closer to “Estrangelo” than the Jacobite script. In it, five vowel sounds were indicated using modified Greek letters above or below the symbol.

Each letter of the Syriac alphabet is assigned a numerical value for writing numbers.