There is no shadow of doubt about the importance of writing history. Writing is such an amazing and fascinating subject. The history of writing is not static and this makes it even more exciting. It has evolved over the years and reaped some incredible benefits for humankind.
Just being able to write carries a status symbol. It gives the impression to those we mingle with and rub shoulders with that we are well learned. Today’s modern world has opened doors for all people to have access to great works written by artists of different genres. Undeniably, this has exposed us to an unprecedented level of information wealth.
Steven Fischer (2003) has also written about the benefits stemming from writing, saying writing used to be a specialised domain for only a few thousand. In contrast, today writing has become a skill practised by almost 85% of the global population.
The significance of writing to the global society can better be appreciated through an understanding of the origins of writing.
Firstly, Let’s Explore What is Writing?
Writing is one of the many forms of conveying human speech. Before the invention of writing, human beings made use of a wealth of graphic symbols and various kinds of memory tools.
For example, use of the Egyptians’ consonantal n-sign depicting waves. Most writing systems and scripts that used to exist long back are now extinct.
Ancient Forms of Writing
The Latin alphabet in which English and other languages are conveyed today.
Following a series of continuous developments, the Latin alphabet has become the world’s most important writing system.
The realisation that we needed to store information, to use it for communication led to the invention of writing.
H. Martin (1988), writes in his book that humans have always desired the means and media to preserve and reproduce expressions of their culture and history. Art Historian, Michael Fitzgerald, wrote about cave paintings in Zimbabwe which were used in the 19th century to record the bush men’s cultural practices. He says there’s a lot of literature available on these paintings.
Wayne Senne (1991) also writes that writing stemmed from the “Sign, Symbol, Script.” He also touched on the genesis of the world’s major writing systems including cuneiform, hieroglyphs, various alphabets, early Germanic runes and Celtic systems, Chinese characters, and ancient American symbols.
When Did People Start To Write?
It is believed that writing of both language and numbers started in two places: Mesopotamia around 3200 BC and Mesoamerica around 900 BC.
How was writing developed?
The Cuneiform writing system was the first form of communication, beyond the use of pictograms. The earliest writing systems evolved roughly at the same time in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The Sumerian language is one of the earliest known written languages between c. 3300 to 3000 BC where records were purely logographic. Meaning, they had no linguistic or phonological content.
(1) Cuneiform developed in Mesopotamia. It consisted of lines and dashes rather than an alphabet.
(2) Egypt had its famous hieroglyphs, many of which still survive today.
(3) The Phoenician alphabet originated on the eastern
shores of the Mediterranean.
When was the first pen invented?
The first fountain pen was invented in Paris in May 1827 and its production increased in the 1850s. The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued in 1888.
Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer conceptualised and invented and invented the first mechanical computer in the early 19th century. JD Bolter (1991) sees the computer as a new technology for reading and writing. And it’s the type of writing that interacts with the needs and desires of the reader.
I will continue with the development of writing in the next article. Check it out The Invention Of The Computer.
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