Language and Linguistics

Writing its origin history and types with details


Writing is a set of technologies for the representation of verbal language. It is a secondary representation system of thought, which is carried out by means of visual signs or characters inscribed on some support surface. Writing its origin history and types

In simpler terms, writing is a set of information preservation techniques, inscribed in a system of signs that conventionally represent spoken language.

Writing, like all technology, is an exclusively human invention that serves as an extension or aid of the body or the mind. And serves as a screwdriver to remove the screws or put our hands can not, writing allows us to communicate with people who could not reach talking, as people absent or future, distant or even unknown. Writing its origin history and types

On the other hand, writing is a physical event, which involves the inscription or marking on a specific surface, and is a complementary technique to reading. This is: to write (inscribe) it is necessary to learn to read (decipher) first. In this sense, writing operates as a code, a secret key, which in current societies is learned from an early age.

Origin of writing

The first vestiges of writing arose approximately at the beginning of the Neolithic, in the year 6,000 a. C. They are known as proto-writing because they lacked link with the spoken language, being visual representations: drawings, pictograms, symbols. They are the immediate predecessors of hieroglyphic, cuneiform, and pictographic writing, characteristic of ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, and Chinese cultures, respectively. However, it can be said that writing itself was invented in many places at the same time and at different times in remote antiquity.

One of the best known as the Near East around 3500 BC. C., when the ancient Sumerians adopted a previous system of clay tokens with which goods and units of time were represented. The result was cuneiform writing: a series of inscriptions that were made on flexible clay. His first alphabet appeared at the time: a syllabary that reflected the phonology and syntax of his language, and was soon copied and reproduced in neighboring languages, such as Arcadian, Eblaite, Hittite, and Ugarite. Writing its origin history and types

Writing history

History, as we understand it today, begins precisely with the invention of writing and the ability to record events of civilization. All of the above is considered prehistory.

Shortly after the emergence of writing in Sumer, Egypt, and China (among others), the first model of the alphabet was developed, based on the Sumerian syllabary, and belonged to the Ugarites, Canaanite inhabitants of what is now Syria.

In this alphabet, only the consonants were represented, but it laid the foundations for the Aramaic and Greek alphabets to emerge later, the latter being the one that introduced the vowels.

The Greeks, a dominant culture at the time and in many later, spread it around the surrounding areas, giving rise to other different alphabets, including the Proto-Italic from which Latin would emerge. Writing its origin history and types

At the same time, the Indus Valley Culture, in the present Indian subcontinent, had already developed its own system of proto-writing and then writing, in which Aramaic had a role.

This gave rise to the Brahmic or Indic families, mothers of the modern languages ​​of Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as parts of Central Asia: the Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Mongolian, Dravidian, Tai, and probably Korean languages.

The Latin alphabet, as we know, was later imposed on Europe and North Africa during the Roman Empire.

The Latin alphabet was inherited by the Romance languages, many of them later imposed on their American colonies, all with more or less the same alphabet.

The latter would also be used by the Germanic languages: German, Polish, Anglo-Saxon, and Nordic languages. Writing its origin history and types

Writing media

Writing did not always require the same supports as in its early days. The clay tablets of the Sumerians soon became softer and more portable, more durable surfaces.

Wood was also used, the interior of animal skins and especially papyrus: a kind of paper made with the fibers of a very common aquatic plant in the Nile, an invention of the Egyptians. These papyri were rolled up and transported in cylindrical containers.

The invention of cellulose paper was, in this sense, a great revolution, since texts could be more portable, durable.

They could also be sewn along the edge, thus forming the first books, which would be the exclusive heritage of the Church during the European Middle Ages.

This was followed by the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, which allowed the massification of the book and its mechanical production, without the need for copyists or clerks, as was done until then.

The birth of the book industry that lasts to this day would not have been possible otherwise.

Types of writing

There are various writing systems, among which are:

  • Synthetic and ideographic writing. It consisted of ideograms, that is, drawings, in which all the information was contained through various symbols and illustrations, as in hieroglyphs or pictograms.
  • Hieratic and demotic writing. In Ancient Egypt, these two models of spelling were used (one for the elite and one for the people, respectively), which combined symbols or pictograms with interconnected chains of symbols to achieve more complex meanings (a kind of running script).
  • Syllabic and alphabetic writing. It is about those writings that represent the basic syllables of a language (such as the Chinese spelling) or those that represent each individual sound of each letter (such as that of Spanish).

Writing and reading

These two are interrelated tools: in order to write it is necessary to first know the language, that is, to be able to read what is written and decipher its contents.

An illiterate person cannot write, since he cannot read.

Why is writing important?

Writing is probably the greatest of human inventions, which has enabled communication across distances and the preservation of knowledge throughout the centuries.

Thanks to writing, the accumulation of knowledge is possible, and that each new generation has greater knowledge available to them. Writing its origin history and types

Writing devices

As writing gained its importance in human civilization, more and better artifacts were invented for writing.

One of them is the quill pen dipped in a jar of vegetable ink: the stiff tip is used for writing in a western way while the other end is used for Asian calligraphy.

In normal use, they were replaced by the pencil (graphite wrapped in wood) and the ballpoint pen (a plastic device for gently pouring ink onto paper).

There are also much more complex inventions such as the teletype, the typewriter or the computer, which use keyboards made up of buttons.

Digital writing

The last step in the history of writing supports is the so-called electronic ink or virtual paper.

The new technology gave the possibility of writing on a virtual screen, on a cybernetic sheet of paper that does not physically exist until it is printed.

This revolution goes hand in hand with the emergence of computers, the Internet, and the digital culture born at the end of the 20th century. Writing its origin history and types

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