Alphabet and the Egyptian Hieroglyph connection

The origins of the present-day alphabet can be traced back to the hieroglyphs, but this first jump is admittedly somewhat speculative.

Around 1900 BC the Proto-Sinaitic script began to appear in Egypt, the Sinai and the Levant (particularly the Egyptian turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai).

Proto-Sinaitic consists of roughly 19 or so signs that can be, at least theoretically, associated with hieroglyphic or hieratic signs.

proto_sinaitic_sign

Whatever the mysterious origins of the script, it eventually spread East throughout the Sinai and the Levant and was adopted by the Canaanites (hence it’s other names: Proto-Canaanite or Old Canaanite) and later by the Phoenicians.

refs:

http://www.codex99.com/typography/11.html

http://ancientneareast.org/tag/serabit-el-khadim/

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/serabit.htm