56 points | by benbreen 15 days ago


  • tdeck 15 days ago
    My favorite is Javanese where the alphabet order forms a poem about two emissaries killing each other: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javanese_script
    • greenyoda 13 days ago
      There is also the Iroha poem in Japanese:

      "The first record of its existence dates from 1079. It is famous because it is a perfect pangram, containing each character of the Japanese syllabary exactly once. Because of this, it is also used as an ordering for the syllabary, in the same way as the A, B, C, D... sequence of the Latin alphabet."


      • shirleyquirk 13 days ago
        thats brilliant, we should do that in english, and make the alphabet song go

        "c w m f j o,

        r d b a n-k-g-l-y.

        p h s,

        v e x,

        t q u, i and z"

  • verbify 12 days ago
    An interesting example is the zayit stone, a 3000 year old abecedary written in the paleo-Hebrew alphabet. One interesting thing is the changes in the order of the letters.


    • pyinstallwoes 12 days ago
      What do the changes imply? Can you expand on your opinion or interest? Thanks.
      • verbify 11 days ago
        Well, consider that there are a bunch of poems/psalms in the Bible that use the alphabet as an acrostic (called abecedarian poems). E.g. 9 of the Psalms, chapter 31 of Proverbs, the book of Lamentations.

        Consider that although the Bible is completed much later than the Zayit Stone there's not necessarily consistency in the alphabet used in these poems (e.g. Psalm 145 is missing a letter (נ) in the Masoretic text but not in the Dead Sea Scrolls). I recall another example but it's not coming to mind.

        So the fixing of the order of the alphabet started as an early process with competing orders. There is some possibility that they might have reordered some of the verses in these acrostic poems to be consistent with what they thought of as the correct order (even though the poet might have worked with a different order). This is mostly conjecture, but it shows something about our desire for order (even if the order is arbitrary), possibly as a teaching aid, and that we might retrofit things to this order.

        Does this answer your question?

        • pyinstallwoes 4 days ago
          Yes. I have wondered about similar things. I now truly wonder what the alternate spellings would have been interpreted as. That would have significant implications.
  • iandanforth 12 days ago
    Not to be confused with "abecedarian" which means rudimentary or elementary.


    • AnimalMuppet 12 days ago
      Off topic: Why are all three words you gave (abecedarian, rudimentary, and elementary) so big? Isn't there a short word for that idea?
      • iandanforth 4 days ago
        If you're the kind of person who has such abstruse and antiquarian knowledge, like what 'abecedarian' means, off the top of your head and posts about it in public you're also the kind of person who likes to use big words for no good reason. ;) Or at least I am.
      • Wolfbeta 12 days ago



  • 29athrowaway 12 days ago
    If you like these topics, you will enjoy "Thoth's pill - an Animated history of writing"