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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet


Pey

By Jeff A. Benner


Early
Hebrew
Middle
Hebrew
Late
Hebrew
Modern
Hebrew


Ancient Name: Pey
Pictograph: Mouth
Meanings: Open, Blow, Scatter, Edge
Sound: P (stop), Ph (f) (spirant)


History & Reconstruction

The Semitic word pey means a "mouth" and there are several ancient Semitic pictographs believed to be this letter, none of which resemble a mouth. The only exception is the South Arabian pictograph . This pictograph closely resembles a mouth and is similar to the later Semitic letters for the letter pey.

This pictograph has the meanings of "speak" and "blow" from the functions of the mouth. This letter also means "edge" as the lips are at the edge of the mouth.There are two sounds for this letter, the stop "P" and the spirant "Ph" (f).

The early Semitic evolved to the letter in the middle Semitic scripts. The letter continued to evolve into the in the late Semitic script and the פ and ף (final pey) in the modern Hebrew script. The middle Semitic became the Greek Π and the Latin P.


Semitic Script Charts




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