In today’s modern era, all technologies are impossible without the original technology: the writing system. It is the topmost invention of Humanity. Writing is the method of preserving and sharing knowledge in order to invent anything and everything else. It is the shortest distance between the mind and fingers. Writing helps us in getting rid of the clutter inside our heads. It is so important to take care of our emotional well-being. By the means of writing, we can do a really good favor for our intellectual health.
Writing a journal has so many untapped benefits that it can completely change our life and thought processes. There is something very healing about putting your thoughts down on paper with your own hand. Through many time periods and civilizations, writing systems make mutations, transformed, and developed.
What is Writing?
Writing is a way for people to communicate with each other, including the characterization of a language through a system of physically etched, mechanically transferred, or digitally represented symbols.
It can be introduced as a method of visual communication between humans that uses signs or symbols that are conventionally linked to linguistic building blocks such as meanings or sounds and are recorded on materials like paper, stone, or clay. Pictography was a forerunner of it. Pictography generally leads to a language called lexicography, where symbols stand in for certain words. For every potential word and name, logging needs thousands of symbols. In phonographic systems, a word’s associated symbol also represents words with a similar or the same sound. Syllabic symbols, which together make up a syllabary, could eventually appear in phonographic systems. Consonants and vowels are represented by symbols in an alphabet.
What is Writing System?
Writing systems do not constitute human language, they are constructed by humans and reconstructed by other humans at various times or spaces.
History of Writing Development
The writing was invented around 3400 BC in an area called sumer near the Persian Gulf. but Mesopotamia was the region comprising many cultures speaking in different languages over time. The Sumerian script development was influenced by local materials such as clay for tablets and reeds for styluses. These are the writing tools at that time for them. Alongside the Sumerians or a little later the Egyptians also invented or developed their form of the hieroglyphic writing system.
Even after Sumerian stopped functioning as a spoken language around 2000 B.C. It survived as a scholarly language and script. Other people within those areas and near Mesopotamia,, took up the later interpretation of this script developed by the Akkadians developed this script, who delivered the Sumerians as rulers of Mesopotamia. In Babylonia itself, the script survived for two further glories until its demise around 70 C.E.
Writing began with pictographs drawn into the clay with a pointed tool. This early administrative tablet was used to record food sections for people, shown by a person’s head and coliseum visible on the lower left side. Pictographs and numbers show quantities of grain distributed to metropolises and types of workers, including pig herdsmen and groups associated with a religious jubilee.
Tablets like these helped original leaders organize, manage, and library information. This tablet reflects regulatory accounting but resembles lists that were applied in the following centuries by individuals to keep track of particular property and business agreements.
Though the cuneiform script is not a language, it is the oldest form of writing system in the world. The word cuneiform comes from the Latin ‘cuneus’, meaning ‘wedge’, and simply means ‘wedge shaped’ It is an ancient writing system that was first used around 3400 B.V. Distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets. It first appeared even earlier than Egyptian hieroglyphics. It doesn’t have any alphabets or letters. It used between 600 and 1000 characters to write words or syllables.
In ancient Iraq, The two main languages were written in cuneiform. One is Sumerian and the second one is Akkadian. So this means we could use it the same today to spell Chinese, Hungarian, or English.
Professional writers of cuneiform were called “ tablet writers ” scribes. In the slow stages of training, they learned hundreds of cuneiform signs and memorized texts and templates in different languages. the utmost were men, but some women could become scribes.
The word “Hieroglyphics” is derived from the “Greek hieroglyphikos” which means sacred carving (from hieros, meaning “sacred” and glyphein, meaning “to carve”) The ancient Greeks who named hieroglyphic writing reserved that term for the picture writing they found carved in tabernacle walls or on public monuments in Egypt; it was distinguished from writings done in ink on papyrus or other smooth surfaces. It is a writing system that employs characters in form of pictures. Each sign is called a hieroglyph. It may be read either as a picture, as a symbol of objects, or as a symbol of sound.
In historical times (2800 BCE–300 CE), hieroglyphic writing was used for inscribing stone monuments and appears in Egyptian relief techniques, both high relief and bas-relief; in painted form; on metal, sometimes in cast form and sometimes incised; and on wood. In addition, hieroglyphs appear in the most varied kinds of metal and wood inlay work. All these applications correspond exactly with the techniques used in fine art.
The archaic hieroglyphs from the first to second dynasty perfectly capture the aesthetic of the time. Although clear traditions or rules on the choice of perspective quickly developed—for example, a hand was only shown as a palm, an eye or a mouth was only inscribed in front view—the proportions remained open-ended. Every writing system starts with a basic standardization, although this standardization does not demand the same level of stylistic uniformity as a canon (an established collection of rules and ideas). The third dynasty saw the emergence of a recognized canon of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, which was upheld until the end of the script’s use.
Hieroglyphic signs still had a strong connection to the fine arts since they portrayed images of living things or inanimate objects. Both writing and painting were based on the same principles, and writing symbols were typically altered to correspond to changes in art styles. The primary reason for this relationship is that the same artisans painted or carved the writing symbols and the images. When literature, which was more firmly tied to convention, kept patterns that the fine arts had abolished, deviations from the fine arts occurred. An illustration of this is the face seen from the front. With the exception of very rare circumstances, this representation was ultimately rejected as an artistic form, with the human face only appearing in profile. However, from the Archaic era to the end of the usage of hieroglyphic writing, the front view of the face was preserved as a hieroglyph. Similar situations represent a variety of utensils and tools. While some of the actual objects—such as the widespread usage of clubs as weapons—fell out of use over time, the hieroglyphic script managed to maintain their representations, which were primarily misinterpreted. Therefore, the hieroglyphs that represented items that had vanished from everyday life were no longer well known and occasionally warped beyond recognition. But the hieroglyphic representational approach nevertheless had a strong connection to the art of the time. Thus, there came sensual, fleshy, or even fully bloated characters, or taut, narrow hieroglyphic forms.
Chinese writing script is a logographic writing system. It is one of the great writing systems in the world. It appears to have started to emerge in the early 2nd millennium BC, however its exact origins are unknown. The earliest known writings, which were used for oracular divination and each contain 10 to 60 characters incised on pieces of bone and tortoiseshell, date from the Shang (or Yin) dynasty (18th–12th century BC). Still, by then the system was already highly developed and essentially similar to its current form. The script had between 2,500 and 3,000 characters by 1400 BC, the majority of which can still be read today.
The guwen (“ancient figures”) discovered in writing from the late Shang dynasty (about 1123 BC) and the early Zhou dynasty that followed are examples of later phases in the evolution of Chinese writing. The dazhuan (“huge seal”), also known as the Zhou wen (“Zhou writing”), was the primary script of the Zhou dynasty, which lasted from 1046 to 256 BC. The dazhuan had begun to deteriorate somewhat by the end of the Zhou period.
In its current form, the script was fixed during the Qin dynasty (221–207 BC). The earliest graphs were schematic images of what they stood for; the graph for a man looked like a standing figure, and the graph for a woman looked like a kneeling figure.
It was long believed that Chinese writing was ideographic, conveying concepts rather than idiomatic structural elements, due to the fact that basic letters or graphs were “motivated”—that is, the graph was designed to resemble the item it represented. It is now understood that the system uses a logographic script to represent the Chinese language. Instead of directly corresponding to a unit of thought, each graph or character represents one meaningful linguistic unit.
Many words were difficult to visualize, even if it was possible to build up simple signs to depict everyday items. The phonographic principle was used to represent these words. An alternative word that just so happened to sound similar was written using a graph that illustrated some thing. With this creation, the Chinese came close to the Sumerian writing system. The phonographic principle would have produced a writing system in which many of the words may be read in more than one way due to the vast number of Chinese words that have a similar sound. To put it another way, a written character would be quite ambiguous.
In order to make the writing easier to read, a technique of romanizing Chinese characters was adopted in 1958. The method wasn’t designed to replace logographic script; rather, it was meant to accompany graphs on items like road signs and posters and to represent the sounds of graphs in dictionaries. The characters were also made simpler in a second reform by using fewer writing strokes. However, simplification often results in the characters looking more alike, which makes them more likely to be confused and limits the reform’s usefulness.
Most scholars now believe that neither the logographic Chinese writing system nor the alphabetic Indo-European writing system possesses any overall advantage. The Chinese writing system requires more memorization, while the Latin alphabet requires more analysis and synthesis; both appear to be relatively optimal devices for the transcription of their respective, very different, languages.
For the Chinese, a single logographic system is particularly useful because it is capable of representing very different spoken forms, just as the numerals 1, 2, and 3 are understandable across many regions though they represent different words in different languages. In this manner Chinese logographs form a common medium of communication for a vast country because they can be read by people who speak mutually incomprehensible dialects or languages. Since the communist revolution the grammar and vocabulary of modern Mandarin Chinese has served as the standard written language.
The Arabic alphabet most likely developed somewhere in the 4th century CE, but the first piece of Arabic writing still in existence dates to 512 CE and is written in Greek, Syrian, and Arabic. The Kfic, named after the Mesopotamian town of Kfah, which served as the home of a renowned Muslim university, and the naskh, also known as the Mecca-Medina script, were the two main forms of Arabic writing that emerged very early in the Muslim era. By the end of the 7th century CE, a massive, bold, and lapidary style called kfic had emerged. It was best suited for lettering on coins, writing on metal or stone, and painting or carving inscriptions on mosque walls. Typically, it has thick, squat, and unslanted letters. Kfic writing evolved into a very lovely script as Arabic calligraphy advanced greatly. In North and Central Africa, Spain, and northern Arabia, several other styles—mostly medieval ones—were descended from it. After that, it was essentially abandoned save for formal and monumental writing. Although many of the priceless Qur’anic manuscripts that were written using it are still in existence.
The naskh style was always more of a cursive form. It was always primarily used for papyrus writing. It eventually developed into numerous forms and variants, such as the ta’liq, riqa, divani, thuluth, and syakat, and it became the ancestor of contemporary Arabic writing. Arabic script is written from right to left, just like other Semitic languages. Its alphabet has 28 consonantal letters, of which three —alif, waw, and yaa— are also used as long vowels. Of these, 22 are directly derived from the Aramaic-Nabataean branch of the North Semitic alphabet.
In 512, the Arabic alphabet was used for the first time in written writing. The dedication can be found in Zabad, Syria, and is trilingual in Greek, Syriac, and Arabic. Using only 21 letters, 15 of which are distinctive, the Arabic script is utilized to denote 28 phonemes.
Since its inception, writing has been used by people of all ages to transmit their thoughts, feelings, culture, collective history, and experiences with the human condition as well as to preserve those experiences for future generations.