Alphabetical Order

We learn the alphabet at an early age and we all understand the concept that each letter corresponds roughly to a sound.  Thinking back on having learned it, we are quite thankful that our language is based on an alphabet instead of thousands of pictograph symbols like Chinese.  But have you ever thought about why our alphabet has an order?  I mean yes, it’s quite useful to be able to alphabetize words and names, but that seems quite a modern thing.  Printing, and printed lists of words and names, only came about in the past few hundred years.  But the Phoenician alphabet, upon which almost all modern alphabets are based, arose more than 3000 years ago.  It had an order which is mostly the same as our own alphabetical order.  Without phone books, dictionaries, and other long ordered lists, the utility of alphabetization and alphabetical order must not have been great, yet alphabetical order existed.  Why?

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