The emergence of local alphabets in archaic Greece, different from one another in the shapes of only few letters, is usually seen as accidental. Observing the use of local alphabets outside their area of origin especially, this article argues that they were consciously created so as to be recognizable from one another and closely associated with perceived ethnic boundaries within the Greek world. The use of the local alphabets should be observed in conjunction with the use of dialects, which appear to have functioned in a similar way.
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