Writing

Evolution of reading and writing

It is factual that ancient periods were characterized by people who had no knowledge regarding reading and writing. It was a state of utter ignorance where nobody ever pictured the development of the highly sophisticated forms of reading and writing. As such, the advancements realized today are a product of continuous and new developments that have lasted for more than a thousand years. The nature of reading and writing differs from one geographical location or society to the other. However, it is worth noting that there are some fundamental steps that have characterized all these developments. For instance, in the earlier days, convectional signs or pictures is what was used to express ideas. This however changed over time and was replaced by phonetic writing. Later development gave way to syllabic writing before alphabetic writing eventually took over (Schmandt-Besserat 43). The origin of writing and thus consequent evolution cannot be traced back to one particular place. Instead, historical studies indicate independent emergence of these skills in different regions of the world. Some studies suggest the Egyptians and Sumerians as the first people who developed the writing skills. Despite of the variability, the researchers noted that Sumerian writing depicted Egyptian influence and vice versa. This study further suggests the need to document their agricultural data as the drive behind this development. In addition, other factors such as need to annotate dealing in trade activities and government taxes were significant in influencing the development of reading and writing. The early records from Syria show the use of clay tokens which were shaped differently to represent agricultural products. In this case, each shape indicated different products and further marks were added to provide further means of distinguishing products of the same kind. This system went on for some long period before being replaced with three dimensional hollow balls. This also never lasted long as they were small and handier to use and so they were substituted with two-dimensional tablets at around 3100 BC curved to represent the products. This was also cumbersome since it required one to curve as many drawings as the number of products were (Martin 66). Further Advancement simplified the whole process by allowing individuals to only specify first the number and then indicate the object. This marked the inception of scribes who kept record of units inform of lines drawn using the stylus tip and tens by pressing the stylus bottom on a tablet. The shape of the product counted followed this. For instance in a case of 43 amphorae, one would indicate: OOOOIII followed by only one amphorae shape. This was another significant step forward and was made even better as new system allowed different signs to indicate goods and numbers (Schmandt-Besserat 34). In around 300BC another development in writing and reading skill realized the introduction of new sings that drifted from indicating the usual objects to indicate sound also called phonograms. This was a reaction to the growing need to solve the problem related to writing names of persons. Cuneiform derives its name from the idea that it used signs that were similar to small wedges. In this form of writing agricultural goods and domestic animals were drawn using conventional signs while wild animals drawing conformed to the distinctive characteristics of each animal. However, a problem

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