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What is the most ancient form of writing?

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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. The history of the Greek alphabet started when the Greeks borrowed the Phoenician alphabet and adapted it to their own language.

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.

With the collapse of the Roman authority in Western Europe, the literary development became largely confined to the Eastern Roman Empire and the Persian Empire. 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. The rise of Islam in the 7th century led to the rapid rise of Arabic as a major literary language in the region.

Arabic and Persian quickly began to overshadow Greek's role as a language of scholarship. Arabic script was adopted as the primary script of the Persian language and the Turkish language.

This script also heavily influenced the development of the cursive scripts of Greek, the Slavic languages , Latin , and other languages [ citation needed ].

The Arabic language also served to spread the Hindu—Arabic numeral system throughout Europe. By the 14th century a rebirth, or renaissance , had emerged in Western Europe, leading to a temporary revival of the importance of Greek, and a slow revival of Latin as a significant literary language.

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. Written communication can also be delivered with minimal time delay e-mail , SMS , and in some cases, with an imperceptible time delay instant messaging.

Writing is a preservable means of communication. Some people regard the growth of multimedia literacy as the first step towards a postliterate society. There is no very definite statement as to the material which was in most common use for the purposes of writing at the start of the early writing systems.

In the latter case there is this peculiarity, that plaster sic , lime or gypsum was used along with stone, a combination of materials which is illustrated by comparison of the practice of the Egyptian engravers, who, having first carefully smoothed the stone, filled up the faulty places with gypsum or cement, in order to obtain a perfectly uniform surface on which to execute their engravings.

To the engraving of gems there is reference also, such as with seals or signets. The common materials of writing were the tablet and the roll, the former probably having a Chaldean origin, the latter an Egyptian. The tablets of the Chaldeans are among the most remarkable of their remains.

In Egypt the principal writing material was of quite a different sort. Wooden tablets are found pictured on the monuments; but the material which was in common use, even from very ancient times, was the papyrus. This reed, found chiefly in Lower Egypt, had various economic means for writing, the pith was taken out, and divided by a pointed instrument into the thin pieces of which it is composed; it was then flattened by pressure, and the strips glued together, other strips being placed at right angles to them, so that a roll of any length might be manufactured.

Writing seems to have become more widespread with the invention of papyrus in Egypt. That this material was in use in Egypt from a very early period is evidenced by still existing papyrus of the earliest Theban dynasties.

As the papyrus, being in great demand, and exported to all parts of the world, became very costly, other materials were often used instead of it, among which is mentioned leather, a few leather mills of an early period having been found in the tombs.

With the invention of wood-pulp paper , the cost of writing material began a steady decline. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. List of languages by first written accounts. Recorded history and Early literature. China Europe India Near East. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. History of the alphabet. Middle Bronze Age alphabets. Chinese writing and Chinese characters. Cretan hieroglyphs , Linear A , and Linear B. Bright and Daniels, p.

Fagan, Charlotte Beck, ed. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. By Dr Gwendolyn Leick. Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved 29 February An Introduction to the History of History. Records of civilization, sources and studies. Columbia University Press, On Deep History and the Brain. An Ahmanson foundation book in the humanities. University of California Press, Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, v. University of Texas Press, Pilcher 'Earliest handwriting found?

Chinese relics hint at Neolithic rituals', Nature 30 April , doi: Antiquity , 77, 31 - 44, Script Invention as History and Process. A Hundred Years at Abydos. Autumn, , pp. A stone slab bearing 3,year-old writing previously unknown to scholars has been found in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and archaeologists say it is an example of the oldest script ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere. Ancient civilisations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as BC, new evidence suggests.

A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico. Stylistic and other dating of the block places it in the early first millennium before the common era, the oldest writing in the New World, with features that firmly assign this pivotal development to the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. The World's Writing Systems. The Cambridge Medieval History volumes Cyclopedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature: The same material was largely used by the Assyrians, and many of their clay tablets still remain.

They are of various sizes, ranging from nine inches long by six and a half wide, to an inch and a half by an inch wide, and even less. Some thousands of these have been recovered; many are historical, some linguistic, some geographical, some astronomical. History of writing History of the alphabet Graphemes Scripts in Unicode. Types of writing systems. History of writing Grapheme.

Jurchen Khitan large script Sui Tangut. Japanese Korean Two-Cell Chinese. Accessible publishing Braille literacy RoboBraille. Emoticons Emoji iConji Leet Unicode. Retrieved from " https: Articles with inconsistent citation formats Articles needing additional references from November All articles needing additional references Wikipedia articles needing clarification from September All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from August Articles with unsourced statements from November All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from January Use dmy dates from January Views Read Edit View history.

This page was last edited on 14 September , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. History Grapheme List of writing systems. Overview History of writing Grapheme. In Middle Egyptian, one can write:. Besides a phonetic interpretation, characters can also be read for their meaning: A hieroglyph used as a logogram defines the object of which it is an image.

Logograms are therefore the most frequently used common nouns; they are always accompanied by a mute vertical stroke indicating their status as a logogram the usage of a vertical stroke is further explained below ; in theory, all hieroglyphs would have the ability to be used as logograms. Logograms can be accompanied by phonetic complements. Here are some examples:. In some cases, the semantic connection is indirect metonymic or metaphoric:.

Determinatives or semagrams semantic symbols specifying meaning are placed at the end of a word. These mute characters serve to clarify what the word is about, as homophonic glyphs are common. If a similar procedure existed in English, words with the same spelling would be followed by an indicator that would not be read, but which would fine-tune the meaning: All these words have a meliorative connotation: Faulkner, gives some twenty words that are read nfr or which are formed from this word.

Rarely, the names of gods are placed within a cartouche ; the two last names of the sitting king are always placed within a cartouche:. A filling stroke is a character indicating the end of a quadrat that would otherwise be incomplete.

Some signs are the contraction of several others. These signs have, however, a function and existence of their own: The doubling of a sign indicates its dual; the tripling of a sign indicates its plural. Standard orthography —"correct" spelling—in Egyptian is much looser than in modern languages. In fact, one or several variants exist for almost every word.

However, many of these apparent spelling errors constitute an issue of chronology. Spelling and standards varied over time, so the writing of a word during the Old Kingdom might be considerably different during the New Kingdom. Furthermore, the Egyptians were perfectly content to include older orthography "historical spelling" alongside newer practices, as though it were acceptable in English to use archaic spellings in modern texts. Most often, ancient "spelling errors" are simply misinterpretations of context.

Today, hieroglyphicists use numerous cataloguing systems notably the Manuel de Codage and Gardiner's Sign List to clarify the presence of determinatives, ideograms, and other ambiguous signs in transliteration.

The glyphs in this cartouche are transliterated as:. Another way in which hieroglyphs work is illustrated by the two Egyptian words pronounced pr usually vocalised as per. One word is 'house', and its hieroglyphic representation is straightforward:.

Here, the 'house' hieroglyph works as a logogram: The vertical stroke below the hieroglyph is a common way of indicating that a glyph is working as a logogram. Another word pr is the verb 'to go out, leave'. When this word is written, the 'house' hieroglyph is used as a phonetic symbol:. Here, the 'house' glyph stands for the consonants pr. The 'mouth' glyph below it is a phonetic complement: The third hieroglyph is a determinative: Egyptian hieroglyphs were added to the Unicode Standard in October with the release of version 5.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Writing in Ancient Egypt. For other uses, see Hieroglyph disambiguation. Logography usable as an abjad. Decipherment of hieroglyphic writing.

A number of determinatives exist: Certain determinatives possess a literal and a figurative meaning. The determinative of the plural is a shortcut to signal three occurrences of the word, that is to say, its plural since the Egyptian language had a dual, sometimes indicated by two strokes. This special character is explained below. Antonio Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction Cambridge: Cambridge UP, , p.

Gardiner , Catalogue of the Egyptian hieroglyphic printing type, from matrices owned and controlled by Dr. Gardiner , "Supplement to the catalogue of the Egyptian hieroglyphic printing type, showing acquisitions to December " Unicode Egyptian Hieroglyphs as of version 5.

Retrieved 31 October The international standard Bible encyclopedia. Groundbreaking scientific experiments, inventions, and discoveries of the ancient world. Archaeological Institute of America. Retrieved 29 February Birthday of Osiris Archived at the Wayback Machine.

Outline Index Major topics Glossary of artifacts. Types of writing systems. History of writing Grapheme. Jurchen Khitan large script Sui Tangut. Japanese Korean Two-Cell Chinese. Accessible publishing Braille literacy RoboBraille. Emoticons Emoji iConji Leet Unicode. Retrieved from " https: Uses editors parameter Webarchive template wayback links All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from November Wikipedia pages semi-protected against vandalism Articles containing Ancient Greek-language text Wikipedia articles needing clarification from June Articles containing potentially dated statements from July All articles containing potentially dated statements Wikipedia articles with NDL identifiers.

Views Read View source View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. This page was last edited on 15 August , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This article contains IPA phonetic symbols.

Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help: Look up hieroglyph in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

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Writing in China developed from divination rites using oracle bones c. BCE and appears to also have arisen independently as there is no evidence of cultural transference at this time between China and Mesopotamia. The ancient Chinese practice of divination involved etching marks on bones or shells which were then heated until they cracked.

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Hieroglyphics are a form of pictographic writing used by the Egyptians. 2.) Cuneiform is a form of writing made by wedges pressed into patterns on clay tablets.

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Palaeography is the study of the progressive changes and developments in the form of letters over time and is usually applied to writing on less durable materials such as parchment, leather or papyrus. An experienced palaeographer can often date a specific manuscript with fair accuracy. Ancient Forms of Writing & Art Lesson Plans - Chapter Summary. Make the process of learning about ancient forms of writing and art fun .

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As writing developed and became more widespread among the Egyptian people, simplified glyph forms developed, resulting in the hieratic (priestly) and demotic (popular) scripts. These variants were also more suited than hieroglyphs for use on papyrus. Later scribes would chisel cuneiform into a variety of stone objects as well. Different combinations of these marks represented syllables, which could in turn be put together to form words. Cuneiform as a robust writing tradition endured 3, years.