Acceptable ways to write it: alap, alaph, alp, alph
The letter alaph (𐤀) is the first letter in the Afroasiatic language known as Paleo-Hebrew. The letter has been equated with both the letter A and the letter E in the English language. However, the letter E is mostly associated with Modern Hebrew, whereas it originally came from a branch of the Paleo-Hebrew letter we associate with H in the English language.
The Paleo-Hebrew language or Original Ābarayam language is one spoken with an emphasis on the rauach (breath, wind, spirit). With the language of the Ābarayam, each letter has a meaning and a number associated with it that adds meaning to each word they’re used with. Below you will be able to learn more about the letter in Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and much more. However, you can read more about the Paleo-Hebrew alaph-bayt on Wikipedia.
History of the Meaning
The pictograph is the head of an ox, the strongest and most versatile of animals among the livestock owned by the Ābarayam. The ox was used to pull carts or a plow, it provided meat and leather and it was one of the animals used in sacrifices. This animal was the “all” powerful and “all” versatile animal of the Ābarayam.
This pictograph also represents a chief or leader. When two oxen are yoked together for pulling a wagon or plow, one is the older and more experienced one who leads the other. Within the clan, tribe, or family the chief or father is seen as the elder who is yoked to the others as the leader and teacher.
History of the letter A
The letter A was introduced in 1800 BCE (2125 AM). Resembling an animal’s head with antlers or horns, the original meaning of the letter in ancient Semitic was “ox.” The letter that has stood at the head of the alphabet during the traceable history. The name of the letter in the Phoenician (Paleo-Hebrew) period resembled the Modern Hebrew name aleph meaning “ox”; the form is thought to derive from an earlier symbol resembling the head of an ox. The letter was taken over by the Greeks in the form of alpha. In the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, the letter stood for a species of breathing, as vowels were not represented in the Semitic alphabets.
History of the letter E
The letter E was introduced in 1779 BCE (2146 AM). The letter was pronounced like an “h” in Semitic and resembled a stick with two arms and a leg meant to signify a human form. The Greeks flipped it around in 700 BC and changed the sound to “ee.”
The sound represented by the letter was a mid-front vowel corresponding to the sound a makes in the word take. The latter sound was a diphthong, where e represented an unmixed vowel sound, such as that heard in French tête or été.
In English, an extensive change took place in the sound of the long vowel during and after the later Middle English period (probably between the 13th and 17th centuries). Just as the sound represented by the letter “a” moved forward until it was the same as what formerly represented “e”, so the letter “e” encroached upon the territory of the sound of “i.”