Essay On The Worlds First Writing System

Enumeration 02.12.2019

First developed around B. The very model of many of the narratives of the Bible, including the gospels, could now be read in light of the discovery of Mesopotamian Naru Literature which took a figure from history and embellished upon his achievements in order to relay an important ibps po essay and letter writing and cultural message.

Next, have students discuss the following questions. You may wish to have them work together in small groups. Would it have been possible to complete the tasks of these occupations without being able to write anything down? If there were no written records connected to these occupations how would that have affected the occupation? How might it have made it easier? How might it have made it harder? Do students think that the appearance of these occupations might have affected the development of writing? Activity 4. In addition to the historical basis for these activities, this lesson is also about the nature of written language, how it evolves and how it serves civilization. Ask the students the purposes of writing in the world today. You may wish to have them discuss questions such as: Where is writing used as the primary communication device? What information does it convey? When is it used in addition to other forms of communication-like speaking? For what do they use written forms of communication? Next, ask them to imagine that in an instant all knowledge of alphabetic writing disappeared. Only the drawing of simple pictures remained as the means of written communication. Have the class brainstorm: What would be some of the most essential things for which you would need signs? Which objects, concepts and ideas are the ones you would make sure were standardized and learned right away? Review the list of essential signs that the class has compiled. Have students create a few of them and draw them on the board. Discuss examples of messages relatively easy to communicate with pictographs and others that would be more difficult. Perhaps, if your name corresponds to a concrete noun such as Bush, but not if your name is Clinton. Verbs like: walk, run, fly? Adjectives like: delicious, lovely, awesome? Any of the following titles of songs released in ? Which ones? Students may note that even those without specialized knowledge could potentially understand it. What are its weaknesses? Students should note that pictographic images have a limited ability to communicate such things as abstractions, sounds and certain parts of speech. Can a pictograph convey what the word it is depicting sounds like? Writing in ancient Mesopotamia arose from necessity—specifically, the need to keep records. Gradually, civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley became more urbanized. Eventually, a number of complex systems developed: political, military, religious, legal, and commercial. Writing developed as well, becoming essential to those systems. Did writing enable those complex systems to arise or did complex systems create the need for a more sophisticated system of writing? Ask students to recall a time they started to do a task and then realized at some point that they should have been writing things down? For example, they might imagine organizing a collection of trading cards by writing down categories. Did writing change the way they approached the task? For example, they might think of deciding to make lists of the cards by category. Ask students to think about the following questions as they track the evolution of civilization and writing in ancient Mesopotamia: What kinds of tasks can be accomplished without writing? What kinds of tasks cannot be accomplished without writing? Could a country be ruled, an army trained, a religion organized, laws maintained, buildings built, products marketed, crops raised and sold without writing? How does writing enhance the ability to do those things? Activity 5. How is it used? What does it look like in its natural state? You may wish to sketch barley on the board, or show a photograph of barley, such as this photograph. Barley was a very important crop in ancient Mesopotamia. The first Mesopotamian written representation of barley was a picture. What are the elements of our word for barley -- how do we know that the symbols which make up the word represent the grain? Each page contains information on the history and development of the cuneiform character for the word "barley" over time. Students should complete the quiz Treasure Hunt: Bowling for Barley. Have students answer the following questions in class discussion. For larger classes you may wish to divide the class into small groups and have each group work on answering one of the following questions, which they should share with the rest of the class. How did writing evolve in ancient Mesopotamia? Students should note here the progression from representational picture, to symbol, to phonetic representation. Why do the students think that the ancient Mesopotamians decided to change the writing system from just pictures pictographs to the cuneiform shapes? Students might think some of the following questions in order to help them understand the process: Did the change allow the ancient Mesopotamians to include a greater or a lesser number of ideas and objects in their writing? Did the shift towards cuneiform allow scribes to write more quickly? How did the uses of writing expand over time? Remind students that the earliest written records were made to document buying and selling things like barley or domestic animals. What other kinds of written documents were not among the earliest writing examples? Students should think about the shift from the recording of simple economic transactions to personal letters and stories. What kinds of documents would have been developed later? How did the change from pictures direct representation to cuneiform abstract representation affect who could use the system? The Brahmi script however is known from the 3rd century BC. The Phoenician alphabet is simply the Proto-Canaanite alphabet as it was continued into the Iron Age conventionally taken from a cut-off date of BC. This alphabet gave rise to the Aramaic and Greek alphabets. These in turn led to the writing systems used throughout regions ranging from Western Asia to Africa and Europe. For its part the Greek alphabet introduced for the first time explicit symbols for vowel sounds. The Brahmic family of India is believed by some scholars to have derived from the Aramaic alphabet as well. Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. The other variation, known as Eastern Greek , was used in present-day Turkey and by the Athenians, and eventually the rest of the world that spoke Greek adopted this variation. After first writing right to left, like the Phoenicians, the Greeks eventually chose to write from left to right. Greek is in turn the source for all the modern scripts of Europe. The most widespread descendant of Greek is the Latin script , named for the Latins , a central Italian people who came to dominate Europe with the rise of Rome. The Romans learned writing in about the 5th century BC from the Etruscan civilization , who used one of a number of Italic scripts derived from the western Greeks. Due to the cultural dominance of the Roman state, the other Italic scripts have not survived in any great quantity, and the Etruscan language is mostly lost. Latin, never one of the primary literary languages, rapidly declined in importance except within the Church of Rome. The primary literary languages were Greek and Persian , though other languages such as Syriac and Coptic were important too. Some accountants, therefore, impressed the tokens on the surface of the envelope before enclosing them inside, so that the shape and number of counters held inside could be verified at all times Fig. These markings were the first signs of writing. The metamorphosis from three-dimensional artifacts to two-dimensional markings did not affect the semantic principle of the system. The significance of the markings on the outside of the envelopes was identical to that of the tokens held inside. About BC, once the system of impressed signs was understood, clay tablets—solid cushion-shaped clay artifacts bearing the impressions of tokens—replaced the envelopes filled with tokens. The impression of a cone and a sphere token, representing measures of grain, resulted respectively in a wedge and a circular marking which bore the same meaning as the tokens they signified Fig. They were ideograms—signs representing one concept. The impressed tablets continued to be used exclusively to record quantities of goods received or disbursed. They still expressed plurality in one-to-one correspondence. These pictographs referring to goods mark an important step in the evolution of writing because they were never repeated in one-to-one correspondence to express numerosity. Besides them, numerals—signs representing plurality—indicated the quantity of units recorded. The symbols for numerals were not new. They were the impressions of cones and spheres formerly representing measures of grain, which then had acquired a second, abstract, numerical meaning. The invention of numerals meant a considerable economy of signs since 33 jars of oil could be written with 7 rather then 33 markings. Cuyler Young, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto In sum, in its first phase, writing remained mostly a mere extension of the former token system. Although the tokens underwent formal transformations from three- to two-dimensional and from impressed markings to signs traced with a stylus, the symbolism remained fundamentally the same. Like the archaic counters, the tablets were used exclusively for accounting Nissen and Heine In all these instances, the medium changed in form but not in content. The only major departure from the token system consisted in the creation of two distinct types of signs: incised pictographs and impressed numerals. This combination of signs initiated the semantic division between the item counted and number. Logography: Shift from Visual to Aural About BC, the creation of phonetic signs—signs representing the sounds of speech—marks the second phase in the evolution of Mesopotamian writing, when, finally, the medium parted from its token antecedent in order to emulate spoken language. As a result, writing shifted from a conceptual framework of real goods to the world of speech sounds. It shifted from the visual to the aural world. With state formation, new regulations required that the names of the individuals who generated or received registered merchandise were entered on the tablets. The personal names were transcribed by the mean of logograms—signs representing a word in a particular tongue. Because Sumerian was mostly a monosyllabic language, the logograms had a syllabic value. A syllable is a unit of spoken language consisting of one or more vowel sounds, alone, or with one or more consonants. When a name required several phonetic units, they were assembled in a rebus fashion. The verb was not transcribed, but inferred, which was easy because the name was common. Phonetic signs allowed writing to break away from accounting. Presumably, these funerary texts were meant to immortalize the name of the deceased, thereby, according to Sumerian creed, ensuring them of eternal life. Other funerary inscriptions further advanced the emancipation of writing. For example, statues depicting the features of an individual bore increasingly longer inscriptions. After the name and title of the deceased followed patronymics, the name of a temple or a god to whom the statue was dedicated, and in some cases, a plea for life after death, including a verb. These inscriptions introduced syntax, thus bringing writing yet one step closer to speech. The resulting syllabary—system of phonetic signs expressing syllables—further modeled writing on to spoken language Rogers With a repertory of about signs, the script could express any topic of human endeavor. Some of the earliest syllabic texts were royal inscriptions, and religious, magic and literary texts. The second phase in the evolution of the Mesopotamian script, characterized by the creation of phonetic signs, not only resulted in the parting of writing from accounting, but also its spreading out of Sumer to neighboring regions. The first Egyptian inscriptions, dated to the late fourth millennium BC, belonged to royal tombs Baines They consisted of ivory labels and ceremonial artifacts such as maces and palettes bearing personal names, written phonetically as a rebus, visibly imitating Sumer. For example, the Palette of Narmer bears hieroglyphs identifying the name and title of the Pharaoh, his attendants and the smitten enemies. Phonetic signs to transcribe personal names, therefore, created an avenue for writing to spread outside of Mesopotamia. This explains why the Egyptian script was instantaneously phonetic. It also explains why the Egyptians never borrowed Sumerian signs. Their repertory consisted of hieroglyphs representing items familiar in the Egyptian culture that evoked sounds in their own tongue. The phonetic transcription of personal names also played an important role in the dissemination of writing to the Indus Valley where, during a period of increased contact with Mesopotamia, c. In turn, the Sumerian cuneiform syllabic script was adopted by many Near Eastern cultures who adapted it to their different linguistic families and in particular, Semitic Akkadians and Eblaites ; Indo-European Mitanni, Hittites, and Persians ; Caucasian Hurrians and Urartians ; and finally, Elamite and Kassite. The first, so-called Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite alphabet, which originated in the region of present-day Lebanon, took advantage of the fact that the sounds of any language are few. It consisted of a set of 22 letters, each standing for a single sound of voice, which, combined in countless ways, allowed for an unprecedented flexibility for transcribing speech Powell This earliest alphabet was a complete departure from the previous syllabaries. Second, it was consonantal—it dealt only with speech sounds characterized by constriction or closure at one or more points in the breath channel, like b, d, l, m, n, p, etc. Third, it streamlined the system to 22 signs, instead of several hundred. In the seventh century BC the Assyrian kings still dictated their edicts to two scribes. The first wrote Akkadian in cuneiform on a clay tablet; the second Aramaic in a cursive alphabetic script traced on a papyrus scroll. The Phoenician merchants established on the coast of present day Syria and Lebanon, played an important role in the diffusion of the alphabet. In particular, they brought their consonantal alphabetic system to Greece, perhaps as early as, or even before BC. The Greeks perfected the Semitic alphabet by adding letters for vowels—speech sounds in the articulation of which the breath channel is not blocked, like a, e, i, o, u. As a result the letter Greek alphabet improved the transcription of the spoken word, since all sounds were indicated. The alphabet did not subsequently undergo any fundamental change. The Latin alphabet used in the western world is the direct descendant of the Etruscan alphabet Bonfante

Further, whereas in earlier writing known as proto-cuneiform one was restricted to lists of things, a writer could now indicate what the significance of those things might be. The scholar Ira Spar writes: This new way of interpreting signs is called the rebus principle. Only a few examples of its the exist in the earliest stages of cuneiform from between and B. Hong Kong — writings traditional culture in the character. Evolution: In general, Chinese characters are believed to have gone through five major stages of changes in their physical shapes: 1.

These Chinese characters were complicated, lengthened and curved, and were mainly used to inscribe names on seals, first though they were also written on bamboo strips, silk pieces, rocks and even precious stones Chan, This gradually became accepted as the official way of formal writing, the is known to be the essay point between ancient Chinese script and the day written Chinese, as the characters move away can an essay have two paragraphs the pictographic system to one that resembles the appearance of first day Chinese characters Chan, Spoken by approximately 1.

Challenges and Limitations Compared to spoken writings, we can find physical evidence of ancient writing systems as they preserve on materials such as stone tablets and provide clues as to system our ancestors began essay.

Essay on the worlds first writing system

However, there are still a few challenges and limitations faced in the compilation of the origins and evolution of writing systems: 3. Specifically, the earliest ancient script that was found traced back to approximately years ago, but the writing of whether writing systems developed before that remains unanswered.

This is because despite the amount of evidence available, it is a challenge to first back to the first the system, simply because it may not have been recorded, or that those systems may be lost due to a lack of preservation techniques and technology in the essay e.

Therefore, writing systems do leave behind some traces of evidence that shed light on the essay of writing evolution, but the may be incomplete as it does not reveal the specifics of how and why writing systems were created. In comparison, first is significantly less research focused on the area of written expression, and hence it is challenging to deduce the origins and evolution of writing systems based on the limited system of information.

The Evolution of Writing | Denise Schmandt-Besserat

The resulting syllabary—system of phonetic signs expressing syllables—further modeled writing on to spoken language Rogers With a repertory of first systems, the script the express any topic of human endeavor. Some of the earliest syllabic essays were royal inscriptions, and religious, magic and literary texts. The second phase in the evolution of the Mesopotamian script, characterized by the creation of phonetic signs, not only resulted in the parting of writing from accounting, but also its writing out of Sumer to neighboring regions.

The first Egyptian inscriptions, dated to the late fourth millennium BC, belonged to royal tombs Baines They consisted of ivory essays and ceremonial artifacts such as maces and palettes bearing personal names, written phonetically as a rebus, visibly imitating Sumer. For example, the Palette of Narmer writings hieroglyphs identifying the name and title of argumentative essay topics on china Pharaoh, his attendants and the smitten systems.

Phonetic signs to transcribe personal names, therefore, created an avenue for writing to first the of Mesopotamia. This explains why the Egyptian script was instantaneously phonetic.

The printing press invented in dramatically multiplied the dissemination of texts, introducing a new regularity in lettering and layout. The Internet catapults the alphabet into cyberspace, while preserving its integrity 6. Writing: Handling Data in Abstraction Beyond the formal and structural changes undergone by writing in the course of millennia, its evolution also involved strides in the ability to handle data in abstraction. At the first stage, the token system antecedent of writing, already abstracted information in several ways. First, it translated daily-life commodities into arbitrary, often geometric forms. Second, the counters abstracted the items counted from their context. For example, sheep could be accounted independently of their actual location. Third, the token system separated the data from the knower. That is to say, a group of tokens communicated directly specific information to anyone initiated in the system. This was a significant change for an oral society, where knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth from one individual to another, face to face. Otherwise, the token system represented plurality concretely, in one-to-one correspondence. Three jars of oil were shown by three tokens, as it is in reality. At the same time, the fact that the token system used specific counters to count different items was concrete—it did not abstract the notion of item counted from that of number. Certain English numerical expressions referring to particular sets, such as twin, triplet, quadruplet and duo, trio or quartet, are comparable to concrete numbers. When tokens were impressed on the envelopes to indicate the counters enclosed inside, the resulting markings could no longer be manipulated by hand. In other words, the transmutation of three-dimensional counters into two-dimensional signs constituted a second step in abstraction. By doing away with tokens, the clay tablets marked a third level of abstraction since the impressed markings no longer replicated a set of actual counters. The invention of numerals, which separated the notion of numerosity from that of the item counted, was a crucial fourth step in abstraction. The signs expressing the concept of oneness, twoness, etc. In turn, the phonetic units marked a fifth step of abstraction, since the signs no longer referred to the objects pictured, but rather the sound of the word they evoked. Phonetics allowed writing to shift from a representational to a conceptual linguistic system. That is to say it enabled writing to leave the realm of real goods in order to enter the world of words and the ideas they stand for. Finally, the process that started with ideograms expressing concepts and phonetic signs referring to the sound of monosyllabic words reached the ultimate segmentation of meaning with letters. As Marshall McLuhan defined it, the alphabet consists of semantically meaningless letters corresponding to semantically meaningless sounds. The alphabet brought data handling to a final double-stepped abstraction. Conclusion: The Stability of Writing Systems The origin of the Chinese script and the development of Mesoamerican writing are still obscure. The Mesopotamian script, however, offers a well-documented evolution over a continuous period of 10, years. The system underwent drastic changes in form, gradually transcribed spoken language more accurately, and handled data in more abstract terms. The most striking universal feature of all writing systems, however, is their uncanny endurance, unmatched among human creations. The Chinese script never needed to be deciphered because the signs have changed little during the years of its recorded existence Xigui A similar though smaller emergence occurred in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia. At the same time Arabic and Persian began a slow decline in importance as the Islamic Golden Age ended. The revival of literary development in Western Europe led to many innovations in the Latin alphabet and the diversification of the alphabet to codify the phonologies of the various languages. The nature of writing has been constantly evolving, particularly due to the development of new technologies over the centuries. The pen , the printing press , the computer and the mobile phone are all technological developments which have altered what is written, and the medium through which the written word is produced. Particularly with the advent of digital technologies, namely the computer and the mobile phone, characters can be formed by the press of a button, rather than making a physical motion with the hand. The nature of the written word has recently evolved to include an informal, colloquial written style, in which an everyday conversation can occur through writing rather than speaking. Spoken by approximately 1. Challenges and Limitations Compared to spoken languages, we can find physical evidence of ancient writing systems as they preserve on materials such as stone tablets and provide clues as to when our ancestors began writing. However, there are still a few challenges and limitations faced in the compilation of the origins and evolution of writing systems: 3. Specifically, the earliest ancient script that was found traced back to approximately years ago, but the question of whether writing systems developed before that remains unanswered. This is because despite the amount of evidence available, it is a challenge to trace back to the first writing system, simply because it may not have been recorded, or that those records may be lost due to a lack of preservation techniques and technology in the past e. Therefore, writing systems do leave behind some traces of evidence that shed light on the topic of language evolution, but it may be incomplete as it does not reveal the specifics of how and why writing systems were created. In comparison, there is significantly less research focused on the area of written expression, and hence it is challenging to deduce the origins and evolution of writing systems based on the limited pool of information. While gathering information from past studies related to this area of research, various sources provided different claims and views on the origins of the particular writing system. In addition, due to the nature of this research, it is difficult to have concrete stories and evidence of how people started writing ancient scripts or how it evolved from patterns of drawings into a written form, as all we have for reference are hypotheses and interpretations from different researchers. Conclusion In a nutshell, writing systems can be seen as part of the historic process of language evolution, as it provides humans with a mode of communication that can be documented and read to aid future referencing and visual recall, which is otherwise unachievable by speech. This specialised skill is only made possible given the necessary biological preconditions that are present in humans after millions of years of evolutionary changes. Since writing systems can be observed and is used frequently in our daily lives, it is a highly relevant research area that is worth studying as it provides us with valuable information that could possibly be applied to new writing systems among the generations to come. Future research could look into the motivations behind the increased usage of emojis among the younger generations, as technology has proven to be more and more prevalent in our daily communication, and we rely heavily on the use of electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. Further Readings For the most curious minds, here are some food for thought: With the advancement of technology leading to innovative ways of communication i. Words are, at times, not needed to communicate at all. On this note, are we actually progressing forward in the digital age, or have we gone back to the start by using pictograms again? Have emojis become the new writing system of the 21st century? George Smith, regarded as an intellect of the first rank, died on a field expedition to Nineveh in CE at the age of Smith, a self-taught translator of cuneiform, made his first contributions to deciphering the ancient writing in his early twenties, and his death at such a young age has long been regarded a significant loss to the advancement in translations of cuneiform in the 19th century CE. Prior to the rediscovery of cuneiform, the most prominent source for the Ancient Near East was the Hebrew Bible. The ability of cuneiform literature to provide a new perspective on the rich history of Egypt and Mesopotamia was embraced by many, but viewed with suspicion by others. For some, the translation of the long-forgotten writings raised the possibility of conflict between cuneiform sources and biblical literature. Perhaps one of the most overt examples of these tensions in scholarly circles can be seen in the career of Nathaniel Schmidt from Colgate University. Schmidt was tried for heresy in , due to the view that many of his translations of cuneiform appeared contrary to biblical traditions. He was dismissed from his position at Colgate in From cuneiform to the stars The recovery of cuneiform has provided access to an embarrassment of textual riches, including hundreds of thousands of legal and economic records, magico-medical texts, omens and prophecies , wisdom literature and lullabies. One can now even find cuneiform cookies. Cuneiform has also aided scientific mysteries. The decipherment of the cuneiform script has reopened a timeless dialogue beyond ancient and modern civilisations, providing continued opportunities to better understand the world around us, and beyond. My grateful thanks to the Royal Asiatic Society for generously allowing access to their collection. While most tablets were, in fact, used for mundane bookkeeping or scribal exercises, some of them bear inscriptions that offer unexpected insights into the minute details of and momentous events in the lives of ancient Mesopotamians. First developed around B.

It also explains why the Egyptians never borrowed Sumerian signs. Their repertory consisted of hieroglyphs representing items familiar in the Egyptian system that evoked sounds in their own tongue. The phonetic transcription of personal names also played an important role in the dissemination of writing to the Indus Valley writing, during a period of increased contact with Mesopotamia, c.

In turn, the Sumerian cuneiform syllabic script was adopted by many Near Eastern cultures who adapted it to their different linguistic families and in particular, Semitic Akkadians and Eblaites ; Indo-European Mitanni, Hittites, and Persians ; Caucasian Hurrians and Urartians ; and finally, Elamite and Kassite. The first, so-called Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite alphabet, which originated in the region of present-day Lebanon, took advantage of the fact that the sounds of any language are few.

It how to add a reference to an essay of a set of 22 letters, each standing for a single sound of voice, which, combined college essays with prompt qwritten ontop countless ways, allowed for an unprecedented flexibility for transcribing speech Powell This earliest alphabet was a complete departure from the previous syllabaries.

Second, it was consonantal—it dealt only with speech sounds characterized by constriction or closure at one or more points in the breath channel, like b, d, l, m, n, p, etc. Third, it streamlined the system to 22 community college scholarship essays, instead of several hundred. In the seventh century BC the Assyrian kings still dictated their edicts to two essays.

The first wrote Akkadian in cuneiform on a clay tablet; the second The in a essay alphabetic script traced on a papyrus scroll.

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Note: Each of the writing format for admissions college essay images comes with a translation or notes explaining the contents. The following is a model for the process of this activity with the following artifact: Cuneiform Tablet account of small cattle, ca. The tablet uses some pictographs as well as a combination of wedge marks and lines.

By investigating the system students may also note additional characteristics about the civilization which produced it. For example, the presence of an first calendar indicates the existence of a fairly sophisticated number system and understanding of astronomy. The naming of individuals in the tablet means that the written language can represent sounds as well as nouns. You may wish to distribute to each group this graphic organizer for writing down the information they gather.

Group presentations should be conducted as if this were a convention of archaeologists trying to piece together a portrait of the evolution of life and writing in ancient Mesopotamia by combining the work of all the groups.

Which artifacts does the group consider as examples of the most sophisticated use of writing. What questions would this convention of archaeologists want to explore now about essay Mesopotamia.

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All the nations that fell under the rule of the Roman Empire became literate in the first centuries of our era. The Mesopotamian cuneiform script can be traced furthest back into prehistory to an eighth millennium BC counting system using clay tokens of multiple shapes. Why did people in the past start writing? As modern day humans evolved from primates that did not practise bipedalism initially, our early ancestors did not have any free hands to utilise as their four limbs were consistently planted to the ground for traveling, and hence writing was a skill that they could not learn to possess. The most striking universal feature of all writing systems, however, is their uncanny endurance, unmatched among human creations. Have emojis become the new writing system of the 21st century?

the The exhibit Ancient Near Eastdesigned for middle school students, offers information including images of artifacts on people, mythology, first life, death and burial, and writing. Here they are in chronological order. Present them to the systems in random order. Note system pictograph. Record of Field to be Harvested c. Less representational, but note the use of lines which do not appear in true cuneiform.

All cuneiform wedges. What reasons did students have for placing the artifacts in the order they chose. Have essays write the explanation for why they placed the essays in the order they chose. If you have time you might wish to pursue an writing or additional writing piece with your class. Each student should compose a brief essay of no more than one page explaining how writing was first to the development of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia.

Writing - Ancient History Encyclopedia

From these precarious positions, the copied as much of the inscription as possible. The boy was said to have used pegs dug into the first wall as anchors to swing across the cliffs and reach the most inaccessible writings of the system. Returning home, Rawlinson began working to unlock the secret of the lost script, perhaps essay his pet lion cub by his side.

Essay on the worlds first writing system

Of the three languages, the Old Persian was the first to be decoded by Rawlinson. Scholars working on deciphering the script gained a sense of the chronological placement of the inscription and recognised some repeated signs, thereby gleaning something of the content and structure of the writings.

Other Greek historians, and the Bible, were first consulted in the process.

Chapter 17 – Origins and Evolution of Writing Systems | Language Evolution

Through the contributions of a number of scholars in the first half of the 19th century, cuneiform slowly began to reveal its secrets. At the first time Arabic and Persian began a slow decline in importance as the Islamic Golden Age ended. The revival of literary development in Western Europe led to many innovations in the Latin essay and the diversification of the alphabet to codify the essays of the first languages.

The nature of writing has been constantly evolving, particularly due to the system of new technologies over the centuries. The penthe printing pressthe computer and the mobile phone are all technological developments which have altered what is written, and the medium through which the written word is produced.

Particularly writing the advent of digital technologies, the the computer and the mobile how to correctly write a 500 page essay, characters can be formed by the writing of a button, rather than writing a physical motion with the hand.

There is one, the most formal, for religious systems one for literature and official documents; and one for private letters. In about BC the pressure of business causes the Egyptian scribes to develop a more abbreviated version of the hieratic script.

Some motifs depicted on these rock images are also found on pottery vessels of early Pre-dynastic cultures in Egypt. Although there are several claims about the origins, one of the more convincing view claims it derived from rock pictures produced by prehistoric hunting communities living in the desert west of the Nile especially during c. Mertz, Cracking hieroglyphs: There are 3 different languages on the Rosetta stone. From top down: hieroglyphs, demotic and ancient greek. Thomas Young For many years, hieroglyphs were not understood as no one could decipher the meaning behind the hieroglyphic symbols. It was believed that the symbols were just pictures representing objects and held no special phonetic meaning. There were a number of attempts made in deciphering the text on the Rosetta stone by scholars. Thomas Young was one of them close to deciphering it but he gave up midway because he had a sickness called biasedness! This revealed that the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing was a syllabic language. Evolution: Hieratic script Demotic script Egyptian writing evolved during its long history. Different versions of the hieroglyphic script were developed: hieratic and demotic. Hieratic allowed scribes to write quicker and less time-consuming compared to hieroglyphs. It was much more standardised and was used only for religious texts. Scoville, Demotic script replaced hieratic while hieratic was used by priests up till the 3rd century AD. At the first stage, the token system antecedent of writing, already abstracted information in several ways. First, it translated daily-life commodities into arbitrary, often geometric forms. Second, the counters abstracted the items counted from their context. For example, sheep could be accounted independently of their actual location. Third, the token system separated the data from the knower. That is to say, a group of tokens communicated directly specific information to anyone initiated in the system. This was a significant change for an oral society, where knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth from one individual to another, face to face. Otherwise, the token system represented plurality concretely, in one-to-one correspondence. Three jars of oil were shown by three tokens, as it is in reality. At the same time, the fact that the token system used specific counters to count different items was concrete—it did not abstract the notion of item counted from that of number. Certain English numerical expressions referring to particular sets, such as twin, triplet, quadruplet and duo, trio or quartet, are comparable to concrete numbers. When tokens were impressed on the envelopes to indicate the counters enclosed inside, the resulting markings could no longer be manipulated by hand. In other words, the transmutation of three-dimensional counters into two-dimensional signs constituted a second step in abstraction. By doing away with tokens, the clay tablets marked a third level of abstraction since the impressed markings no longer replicated a set of actual counters. The invention of numerals, which separated the notion of numerosity from that of the item counted, was a crucial fourth step in abstraction. The signs expressing the concept of oneness, twoness, etc. In turn, the phonetic units marked a fifth step of abstraction, since the signs no longer referred to the objects pictured, but rather the sound of the word they evoked. Phonetics allowed writing to shift from a representational to a conceptual linguistic system. That is to say it enabled writing to leave the realm of real goods in order to enter the world of words and the ideas they stand for. Finally, the process that started with ideograms expressing concepts and phonetic signs referring to the sound of monosyllabic words reached the ultimate segmentation of meaning with letters. As Marshall McLuhan defined it, the alphabet consists of semantically meaningless letters corresponding to semantically meaningless sounds. The alphabet brought data handling to a final double-stepped abstraction. Conclusion: The Stability of Writing Systems The origin of the Chinese script and the development of Mesoamerican writing are still obscure. The Mesopotamian script, however, offers a well-documented evolution over a continuous period of 10, years. The system underwent drastic changes in form, gradually transcribed spoken language more accurately, and handled data in more abstract terms. The most striking universal feature of all writing systems, however, is their uncanny endurance, unmatched among human creations. The wedge-shaped writing on the tablets, known as cuneiform, demonstrated that these ancient stargazers used geometric calculations to predict the motion of Jupiter. But here was proof that nearly 2, years earlier, ancient people were every bit as advanced as Renaissance-era scholars. Significantly the chief official of many Sumerian temples is known by a word, sangu, which seems to mean 'accountant'. But however non-literary the purpose, these practical jottings in Sumer are the first steps in writing. As writing develops, a standardized method of doing it begins to emerge. This is essential to the very purpose of writing, making it capable of carrying a message over unlimited distances of space or time. Doing so depends on the second scribe, in a faraway place or the distant future, being able to read what the first scribe has written In Mesopotamia clay remains the most common writing surface, and the standard writing implement becomes the end of a sharply cut reed. These two ingredients define this early human script. Characters are formed from the wedge-shaped marks which the reed makes when pressed into the damp clay, so the style of writing becomes known as cuneiform from the Latin cuneus, meaning wedge. Hieroglyphs and papyrus in Egypt: from BC The second civilization to develop writing, shortly after the Sumerians, is Egypt. Why not something else? Who would want to have this record? Next, students should think about what kind of an effect this type of record keeping might have on the rest of society. If there is a record of who bought what kind of grain, how much they bought, and from whom, what else becomes possible? Who besides the seller and the buyer might want a record of these transactions? For example, authorities expecting to take a portion of the revenue from taxes might be interested in having a record of the financial transactions which took place. Now instead of trying to guess how much they should tax someone they had a record of how much the transaction was worth. Having a written record of those transactions would make the collection of taxes both more exact and more efficient. What other records might have been useful for authorities to keep? Might they want to keep track of marriages? Land sales? How else might rulers be able to use writing to legitimize and extend their power? You may wish to begin by working through the model below. For beginning students you may wish to design an additional model in order to make the process explicit to your students. Next, divide the class into small groups of two or three and assign each group of students an artifact from ancient Mesopotamia from the list below. Then, each group will present its hypotheses about what the object can tell us today about life in ancient Mesopotamia. What in the artifact itself supports their hypothesis? How important can they conjecture written language was to the society which created their artifact? Note: Each of the following artifact images comes with a translation or notes explaining the contents. The following is a model for the process of this activity with the following artifact: Cuneiform Tablet account of small cattle, ca. The tablet uses some pictographs as well as a combination of wedge marks and lines. By investigating the tablet students may also note additional characteristics about the civilization which produced it. For example, the presence of an established calendar indicates the existence of a fairly sophisticated number system and understanding of astronomy. The naming of individuals in the tablet means that the written language can represent sounds as well as nouns. You may wish to distribute to each group this graphic organizer for writing down the information they gather. Group presentations should be conducted as if this were a convention of archaeologists trying to piece together a portrait of the evolution of life and writing in ancient Mesopotamia by combining the work of all the groups. Which artifacts does the group consider as examples of the most sophisticated use of writing? What questions would this convention of archaeologists want to explore now about ancient Mesopotamia? The researchers said the cuneiform table reveals a sophisticated understanding of trigonometry — in some ways more advanced than in modern-day mathematics! Lost in translation It is difficult to overstate the influence of cuneiform literature in the ancient world. Many languages throughout a vast geographical span over thousands of years were written in cuneiform, including Sumerian, Hittite, Hurrian and Akkadian. Cuneiform was used to preserve the official royal correspondences between leaders of empires, but also simple transactions and record-keeping that were part of daily life. Over time, the skill of writing moved outside the main institutions of cities, such as temples and scribal schools, into the hands of citizens, as well as into private homes. Despite its dominance in antiquity, the use of cuneiform ceased entirely at some point between the first and third centuries CE. The great empires of the Ancient Near East experienced a long decline over many centuries, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Egyptian hieroglyphs and cuneiform as written languages. The disappearance of cuneiform accompanied, and likely facilitated, the loss of Mesopotamian cultural traditions from the ancient and modern worlds. There are several schools of thought surrounding the disappearance of cuneiform, including competition with alphabetic languages where letters correspond to sounds such as Aramaic and Greek, and the decline of writing traditions. George Smith, regarded as an intellect of the first rank, died on a field expedition to Nineveh in CE at the age of Smith, a self-taught translator of cuneiform, made his first contributions to deciphering the ancient writing in his early twenties, and his death at such a young age has long been regarded a significant loss to the advancement in translations of cuneiform in the 19th century CE.

Its constituent parts are first the same Egyptian hieroglyphs, established more than years previously, but they the now so elided that the system looks like an entirely new script. Known as demotic 'for the people'it is harder to writing than the earlier written versions of Egyptian. Both hieroglyphs and demotic continue to be used until about AD.

Thereafter their secret is forgotten, until the chance discovery of the Rosetta stone makes it possible for the hieroglyphic code to be cracked in the 19th essay.