Would you like to know the history of writing? We are taught to use this symbolic system from an early age that allows us to transmit ideas, create stories, and share different experiences. Although it has accompanied us in various stages of our lives, such as at school, university or work, we often do not even ask ourselves how this language mechanism came about.
Indeed, ancient and current types of writing are very different, and their use has also been acquiring new approaches. For example, in ancient times, this form of relationship between object and concept arose from managing and transmitting data.
However, writing is a tool that can provide multiple advantages in business and in life itself. Learning how to make good use of it can open the way to new projects and opportunities, as long as we put in the necessary effort.
As some essay writers point out, a writing project is like a kind of love relationship that requires a lot of time and work. If you want to know more about its history and the different types of writing that have existed, continue with me. Let’s get started!
Origin of writing
To know and understand well the history of writing, it is necessary to go back to its origin, which dates back to thousands of years ago, approximately 4000 BC, in the areas of Egypt and Mesopotamia, as a result of an administrative need.
What do we mean by this? The people began to develop and rely on writing to establish rules and share administrative information with new employees or personnel who were about to enter those areas.
Writing has made it possible for new generations to learn and acquire knowledge and information from their ancestors. It has served as a record of historical data and is a source of relevant data related to the sciences and other fields.
Writing can be considered one of the most essential and transcendental inventions since its use is still necessary to transmit diverse messages and knowledge and complement oral language.
History of writing
Ready to dive into the history of writing? When we talk about writing, we refer to that system of graphic representation that relies on a set of signs that have a meaning and are recorded on a base or support to collect and share data or any knowledge.
As mentioned above, this invention appeared thousands of years ago due to man’s administrative needs and the desire to share his ideas with other people.
According to an article in the CurioSfera portal, “The invention of writing is related, on the one hand, to commerce, and on the other hand, to the organization of society, that is, to the birth of civilization.”
People’s needs and desires allowed the development of signs or graphics associated with specific meanings, intending to convey a message. Among the oldest writing systems that were created are the following:
- Pictographic system
- Syllabic system
- Alphabetic system
History of Pictographic Writing
Since ancient times, men have sought mechanisms that allow them to communicate or transmit an idea or message effectively, so they began to associate images to meanings to inform and transmit information. Below, we will mention some of the first types of writing that appeared:
Also known as pictography, this is one of the oldest forms of writing; the first ones appeared around 3000 B.C. Pictograms refer to symbolic representations, icons that showed images very similar to the objects or elements they were intended to communicate.
Thus, if they wanted to talk about man, the sun, water, etc., they used almost authentic images that closely resembled each of these things.
Another of the oldest representations in the history of writing is ideograms, which are successors of the pictograms, appearing around 3300 BC approximately.
Although like the latter, they are based on the development of icons that do not need more than their image to be understood, ideograms are more schematic.
In other words, they do not present so much detail in their representation. Unlike pictograms that look like almost authentic images, ideograms are conventional symbols; simple ideas represent or are associated with something.
Logograms are also considered within the history of writing, and unlike pictograms and ideograms, they are based on minimal units that contain meaning. They are capable of conveying a message rather than representing a single word or thing.
Logograms may contain pictographic and ideographic elements arranged to convey an idea or message. They are characterized by the fact that they can be used in different languages to convey similar meanings.
History of syllabic writing
Syllabic writing was developed because it was difficult to transmit ideas using ideographic writing. It is a method that is currently used to teach literacy.
The syllabic method teaches writing and reading by learning the vowels and consonants together. Once people can pronounce simple words or phrases, they are taught the sound of more complex syllables.
History of alphabetic writing
Alphabetic writing is a system that appeared in approximately 3000 BC in ancient Egypt and consisted of assigning a phoneme to a single symbol. Its creation and development were inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphs and has served as the basis for the alphabet of several languages, such as Latin.
In other words, it is a mechanism capable of representing each sound of a language individually. However, there are some exceptions in which a symbol has no sound, so there will be more signs than sounds in the same word.
Do you want to know what we mean by this? Let’s give you an example. Think of the word “guitar”; it has eight signs. However, the vowel “u” has no sound, so only seven sounds are marked when pronouncing that word.
Other ancient scripts
When studying the history of writing, one of the best-known types that exist and are frequently mentioned in books and articles is the hieratic script. These are cursive letters that were created simultaneously with hieroglyphs. However, this is characterized by being more fluid and agile.
For this type of writing, blunt-tipped brushes were used that were dipped in ink and written on papyrus and ostraca in a cursive style. Its use was mainly based on religious or administrative purposes of the ancient Egyptians.
This type of writing emerged in the last stage of ancient Egypt, around 600 BC, and became the dominant script of that area. Like hieratic, it used a cursive writing style; however, it was engraved on stone or wood and contained various abbreviations and ligatures.
Its use was extended, mainly, for economic and literary purposes of a public character, unlike the hieratic that was kept for religious purposes. This was the main script taught to the people.
We have reached the end of the article! The history of writing is fantastic and allows us to understand how the visual representation systems that accompany the languages we know today developed.