Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Token to Script: The Origin of Cuneiform

Analog Fact Article by Henry Honken

The origins and early history of written language, comparing Sumerian, Egyptian, and Akkadian to Chinese and Japanese. A bit about logographic writing systems in general in the begining as well. And the article ends with a discussion of the current problems in linguistics and archeology and how the record is spottier in the 4 other places where written language developed independently. Are there any universals to language evolution?

It turns out there is decently good archaeological evidence for the theory that tokens used for commerce eventually evolved into written language with clay tablet stamping as an intermediary. This was an extraordinarily information dense article that manages to hold the attention and not get too dull.

No comments: