Typical types of writing in human history

According to archaeologists, ancient writing appeared earliest in major civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China.

According to the History of World Civilization, around the fourth millennium BC, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia invented writing, consisting of two types, hieroglyphs and hieroglyphs.

The first types of writing

With words indicating complex content, people combine pictograms and ideograms. For example, to indicate the cow, people draw a bull’s head. They would add a leaf to the cow’s head if they wanted to express “bison”.

However, this type of hieroglyphs and ideograms cannot express all words. Along with the word expressing the idea, people also invented the word comedy to represent the word sounds.

The ancient Mesopotamians invented hundreds of insignia to represent syllables and even letters to represent vowels. Despite the syllabic sign, they still used many pictographic symbols combined with ideograms. Even a word has both syllable elements and figurative elements.

The Mesopotamian hieroglyphics, although used for a long time, eventually became “dead letters”. It was not until the first half of the nineteenth century that a German scholar named Henry Rawlingson managed to find a way to read this type of script.

Typical types of writing in human history
Greek Alphabet.

As far back as 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians invented hieroglyphics by using simple drawings to represent words. To indicate the Sun, people draw a circle and add a dot in the middle. Rectangle divided into many cells to represent fields, three waves to represent water…

This figurative method is not capable of expressing words with complex, highly abstract content. To overcome, the Egyptians combined the figurative and symbolic methods. For example, to describe a buffalo, people draw a buffalo head and an ostrich (with feathers of the same length) to show fairness.

During this period, the Egyptians knew how to use Papyrus skin, cloth and paper to write letters. This is a reed-like plant that grows in abundance on the banks of the Nile. In addition, ancient Egyptian writings are also carved on the stone faces.

Egyptian hieroglyphs are difficult to read and remember. After Egypt fell, no one could read this script. It was not until 1822 that a French scholar named Champollion found a way to decipher the ancient texts left by the Egyptians.

Along with major civilizations such as Egypt, Luong Ha, India, the Chinese also soon created their own writing around the 3rd millennium BC. In the Thuong – An era, the word Armor bone appeared, written on turtle shells and animal bones. To date, archaeologists have discovered 5,000 letters of this skeleton.

During the Western Zhou Dynasty, writing was improved and simpler. During the Qin Dynasty, they used bamboo cards to write books. During the Han Dynasty, writing was basically perfected. The Chinese also invented writing paper.

Typical types of writing in human history
Egyptian papyrus writing.

The birth of the first alphabet

The introduction of hieroglyphs in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia or China was a great civilizational achievement. However, it requires a lot of symbols representing each word, so writing is very complicated, very few people can do it.

During the 2nd millennium BC, Semitic speakers used part of the Egyptian hieroglyphics to represent the sound of their language. This primitive script that appeared in the Sinai is often considered the first systematic script. In it, separate symbols represent single consonants, there are no symbols for vowels.

Typical types of writing in human history
Ancient Chinese characters.

This consonant alphabet, also known as Abjad (Arabic alphabet), was written from right to left and was propagated by Phoenician traders (in present-day Lebanon, Syria, and Israel). sea. It consists of 22 simple symbols that ordinary traders can also learn and write.

Around the VIII-VII centuries BC, the Phoenician alphabet was transmitted to Greece. Here it was refined and developed to record the Greek language. Some Phoenician characters have been preserved, others are omitted. The greatest advancement was in the use of letters to record vowels.

Many scholars believe that it was this addition – which helped us to read and pronounce letters correctly – that marked the birth of the first “real” alphabet.

Greek was originally written from right to left, but was eventually converted to alternating right-to-left and left-to-right lines. By the 5th century BC, the writing direction had been fixed from left to right until now.

The Greek alphabet spawned many other alphabets. The ancient Romans adopted the Greek alphabet and introduced a number of modifications and additions.

Since then, the Latin alphabet was born and is widely used by people in Western European countries. Then the letters of the English alphabet were based on the Roman alphabet.