Origins Of Written Language

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It is difficult to define the origins of written language. Of course, forms of systematic writing developed concurrently across the globe, in addition to inter-region differentiation in written communication. Furthermore, the common use of pictograms in the earliest forms of writing present an additional challenge: requiring archaeologists to establish a fundamental difference between the representations of culture in artwork, and similar information denoted in a formal writing system. The discussion in class did not broach this conundrum, and neither did the textbook, yet I found the lack of specificity puzzling. Are cave paintings not a pictographic representation of hunting ritual and cultural practices? Regardless, archaeologists have worked …show more content…
The Shang period saw a continued presence of similar rituals, yet the bones contained an assortment of Chinese markings. The propensity for scribes in this region to use delicate writing mediums could suggest that the practice of writing was sustained during this time, consequently no proof exists to support this theory. Later markings indicating the presence of literature suggests that professional scribes existed throughout this period, likely utilizing highly degradable materials. During the Shang dynasty the practice of scapulimancy began to incorporate language, becoming a more sophisticated means of interacting with a spiritual world/being. Turtle carcasses and bones of this time represent the only durable proof of a written language. Archaeologist believe that scribes during this time likely used silk, bamboo, or wooden tablets to keep additional records. “By late Shang times, Chinese written language had developed where more than 3000 phonetic, ideographic, and pictographic symbols were in use,” representing a relatively slow development of the language. As in most cultures, scribes were highly prized as skilled labor, limiting the access to …show more content…
Early Egyptian texts exclusively recorded “dynastic and kingship themes.” For example, the conquering of city, individual, or civilization. The divinity of rulers is also heavily featured in early writings. This limited use of the written word led to a gradual development of the language throughout the history of the region. The first signs of Egyptian writing date from around 3100 B.C. Unlike Mesopotamia, the market demand for scripes and writing was fairly constant, preventing a simplification of the hieroglyphic language. In fact, hieroglyphic symbols increased in complexity and difficulty of execution throughout Egyptian history. Furthermore, the language can be written/read in any direction that suits the scribe or the art/structure the language is meant to cover. Even further, the language is meant to be read as a combination of phonetic, pictographic, and ideographic symbols; the overall meaning of the written words is meant to be interpreted in association with the meaning of the medium upon which it is impressed. For example, the words scribed on the body of a lion are meant to be read within the context of lions or lion-like attributes. The earliest examples of the language appeared on pottery, eventually being incorporated into regional artwork and

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