Writing a is the latest accepted revision, reviewed on 22 February 2019.
The Rosetta Stone, with writing in three different scripts, was instrumental in deciphering Ancient Egyptian. Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion with signs and symbols. In most languages, writing is a complement to speech or spoken language. Writing is not a language, but a tool used to make languages be read. As human societies emerged, the development of writing was driven by pragmatic exigencies such as exchanging information, maintaining financial accounts, codifying laws and recording history. Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration in Mesopotamia outgrew human memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form. Wells argued that writing has the ability to «put agreements, laws, commandments on record.
It made the growth of states larger than the old city states possible. It made a continuous historical consciousness possible. The command of the priest or king and his seal could go far beyond his sight and voice and could survive his death». Alphabetic writing is a frequent category in human communication. A logogram is a written character which represents a word or morpheme. Phonetically related syllables are not so indicated in the script.
Syllabaries are best suited to languages with a relatively simple syllable structure, such as Japanese. An alphabet is a set of symbols, each of which represents or historically represented a phoneme of the language. In a perfectly phonological alphabet, the phonemes and letters would correspond perfectly in two directions: a writer could predict the spelling of a word given its pronunciation, and a speaker could predict the pronunciation of a word given its spelling. As languages often evolve independently of their writing systems, and writing systems have been borrowed for languages they were not designed for, the degree to which letters of an alphabet correspond to phonemes of a language varies greatly from one language to another and even within a single language. In most of the writing systems of the Middle East, it is usually only the consonants of a word that are written, although vowels may be indicated by the addition of various diacritical marks.
Writing systems based primarily on marking the consonant phonemes alone date back to the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. Such systems are called abjads, derived from the Arabic word for «alphabet». In most of the alphabets of India and Southeast Asia, vowels are indicated through diacritics or modification of the shape of the consonant. Some abugidas, such as Ethiopic and Cree, are learned by children as syllabaries, and so are often called «syllabics». Sometimes the term «alphabet» is restricted to systems with separate letters for consonants and vowels, such as the Latin alphabet, although abugidas and abjads may also be accepted as alphabets.
Because of this use, Greek is often considered to be the first alphabet. A featural script notates the building blocks of the phonemes that make up a language. Olin Levi Warner, tympanum representing Writing, above exterior of main entrance doors, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington DC, 1896. Historians draw a sharp distinction between prehistory and history, with history defined by the advent of writing. Writing a cave paintings and petroglyphs of prehistoric peoples can be considered precursors of writing, but they are not considered true writing because they did not represent language directly. Writing systems develop and change based on the needs of the people who use them.
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Sometimes the shape, orientation, and meaning of individual signs changes over time. By tracing the development of a script, it is possible to learn about the needs of the people who used the script as well as how the script changed over time. The typewriter and various forms of word processors have subsequently become widespread writing tools, and various studies have compared the ways in which writers have framed the experience of writing with such tools as compared with the pen or pencil. By definition, the modern practice of history begins with written records. Evidence of human culture without writing is the realm of prehistory. While neolithic writing is a current research topic, conventional history assumes that the writing process first evolved from economic necessity in the ancient Near East.
Writing most likely began as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures, which needed reliable means for transmitting information, maintaining financial accounts, keeping historical records, and similar activities. The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the beginning of the Bronze Age of the late 4th millennium BC. Globular envelope with a cluster of accountancy tokens, Uruk period, from Susa. Archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat determined the link between previously uncategorized clay «tokens», the oldest of which have been found in the Zagros region of Iran, and the first known writing, Mesopotamian cuneiform. The original Mesopotamian writing system was derived around 3200 BC from this method of keeping accounts. By the end of the 4th millennium BC, the Mesopotamians were using a triangular-shaped stylus pressed into soft clay to record numbers.
Narmer Palette, with the two serpopards representing unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, circa 3100 B. 1998 or the Narmer Palette, dating to c. Writing was very important in maintaining the Egyptian empire, and literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train to become scribes, in the service of temple, pharaonic, and military authorities. The hieroglyph system was always difficult to learn, but in later centuries was purposely made even more so, as this preserved the scribes’ status.
The world’s oldest known alphabet appears to have been developed by Canaanite turquoise miners in the Sinai desert around the mid-19th century BC. Around 30 crude inscriptions have been found at a mountainous Egyptian mining site known as Serabit el-Khadem. Over the centuries, three distinct Elamite scripts developed. Proto-Elamite is the oldest known writing system from Iran. Proto-Elamite writing have been found at different sites across Iran.
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