Chapter 1 Literature Review
1.1 Previous Studies on ECS
The French scholar Ouaknin published the book Mysteries of the Alphabet in 1999. This book explains how the alphabet came into being by relating the history and development of each letter, from the very first Hebrew-adapted Egyptian hieroglyphics through the Canaanite/Phoenician to the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans down to current letter sounds and shapes. He gives more than ten meanings for each letter. For example, the letter A has got a wide range of meanings that includes ox, bull, the head of an ox, the horns of an ox or bull, primal energy, strength, being, human being, living being, man, possibility, beginning, prince, champion, to teach, one, one thousand, among others. This reveals the semantic provenance of the alphabets, giving hints to our understanding of the letters, monograms, words and language.Man (2000) in his book Alpha Beta keeps track of the development of alphabets from the ancient Middle East and their spread across the world. He discusses the spread of the alphabet system, with much attention given to the development of the Latin alphabet by way of the Etruscans, Greeks, Phoenician, and probably also the Hebrews. He also talks a little about the theory of alphabets and their inability to ever completely and accurately represent a language, if only because pronunciation changes. The previous foreign studies presented above share some information. To begin with, all of them mention the origin and development of the alphabet, and then some of them demonstrate the factors which come into play in the emergence of alphabet. Other western scholars, like Pennick (1991), and Powell (1991) also make their own contribution in studying and revealing the meanings of alphabetical letters.
1.2 Issues for Discussion on ECS
Previous researches, Deng Wanyong’s study in particular, reveals a great deal on ECS, whose existence now becomes a matter beyond question. Yet to just prove its existence to be true and to just describe the many types of such consonant structure does not suffice. More discussion is needed