Who invented Writing? According to Wikipedia, “The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by systems of markings.”
As writing evolved in human civilizations, proto-writing was preceded by ideographic or early mnemonic symbols (symbols or letters that are easier to remember). It is a later development for linguistic utterances to be encoded in writing, so that another reader can reconstruct, with a fair degree of accuracy, the exact utterance recorded. It differs from proto-writing, which does not encode grammatical words or affixes, making it more difficult or even impossible to reconstruct the exact meaning intended by the writer without a lot of contexts.
Different Inventions Of Writing
According to scholars, all writing originated in ancient Sumer (in Mesopotamia) and spread around the world from there through the process of cultural diffusion. Ancient Mesoamerican scripts, however, proved that writing was invented more than once, far from Middle Eastern sources.
1 – In ancient Egypt, several scholars have argued that “the earliest solid evidence of Egyptian writing differs from Mesopotamian writing” and must therefore have developed independently.
2 – Due to the absence of evidence that ancient China was in contact with the literate civilizations of the Near East and the distinct differences between the Mesopotamian and Chinese approaches to phonetic representation and logography, it is believed that ancient Chinese characters are an independent invention.
3 – There is controversy surrounding the Indus script of the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilization, the Rongorongo script on Easter Island, and Vinča symbols dated around 5500 BCE. There is no way of knowing if they represent authentic writing, proto-writing, or something else since none of them can be deciphered.
4 – Archaic (pre-cuneiform) Sumerian writing and Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the two earliest writing systems. Both emerged from protoliterate symbol systems between 3400 and 3100 BCE, with the first coherent texts around 2600 BCE. As with the Proto-Elamite script, it is believed to date from approximately the same period.
There is a difference between symbolic communication systems and writing systems. In order to comprehend the text in writing systems, it is usually necessary to have some knowledge of the accompanying spoken language. In contrast, symbolic systems, such as information signs, paintings, maps, and mathematics, do not require prior language knowledge.
Many people consider language to be an innate and defining feature of humanity (see Origin of language). The development of writing systems, and their partial replacement of traditional oral communication systems, has been uneven and sporadic. On the whole, writing systems change more slowly than their spoken counterparts and often preserve features and expressions no longer found in spoken languages.
When clay tokens were used to record livestock or commodities during the pottery phase of the Neolithic, writing was first developed. Tokens were initially imprinted on round clay envelopes and stored in them. Later, the tokens were gradually replaced by flat tablets where signs were recorded using a stylus. In the 4th millennium BCE, Uruk became the first city to write, followed by other Near Eastern cities shortly after.
A Mesopotamian poem gives the first known account of the invention of writing:
The Lord of Kulaba patted clay and put words on it, like a tablet, because the messenger’s mouth was heavy and he couldn’t repeat the message. Clay hadn’t been able to hold words until then.
— Sumerian epic poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. c. 1800 BCE.
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