Southwest Paleohispanic script

The Southwest Script or Southwestern Script, also known as Tartessian or South Lusitanian, is a Paleohispanic script used to write an unknown language usually identified as Tartessian. Southwest inscriptions have been found mainly in the southwestern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula, in the south of Portugal (Algarve and southern Alentejo), but also in Spain, in southern Extremadura and western Andalucia.

Writing system

Excepting the Greco-Iberian alphabet, and to a lesser extent this script, paleohispanic scripts shared a distinctive typology: They behaved as a syllabary for the stop consonants and as an alphabet for the remaining consonants and vowels. This unique writing system has been called a semi-syllabary. There is no agreement about how the paleohispanic semi-syllabaries originated; some researchers conclude that their origin is linked only to the Phoenician alphabet, while others believe the Greek alphabet had also participated. In the southwestern script, although the letter used to write a stop consonant was determined by the following vowel, as in a full semi-syllabary, the following vowel was also written, as in an alphabet. Some scholars treat Tartessian as a redundant semi-syllabary, others treat it as a redundant alphabet. The southwestern script is very similar to the southeastern Iberian script, both considering the shape of the signs or his value. The main difference is that southeastern Iberian script doesn’t show the vocalic redundancy of the syllabic signs. This characteristic was discovered by Ulrich Schmoll and allows the classification of a great part of the southwestern signs in vowels, consonants and syllabic signs. Unlike the northeastern Iberian script the decipherment of the southeastern Iberian script and the southwestern script is not still closed, because there are a significant group of signs without consensus value.

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