Written Language

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Writing is a way of putting down information in a textual form. Unlike unrecorded speech it is a form of communication that has a continuing nature in that it still exists or can be seen after it is completed.

  • "... the whole purpose of writing is so that people can read the stuff later on and know what you are trying to say."[1]


The forerunners to writing were carved sticks or knotted cords that conveyed information. Prehistoric writing took the form of cave art such as found in France. The cultures that developed in Egypt and Sumeria both started with pictorial forms which led to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform. The Hittites, Egyptians and Mesopotamians all devised symbols for specific sounds known as phonetic writing. During the 2nd millennium B.C., Semitic alphabets emerged allowing writing as know it. The Greeks and the Romans both copied these earlier alphabets.


The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989
  1. Some Thoughts about Writing -- Thomas Sowell