The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

26. Where did Writing Come From?

The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition - Caroline Myrick

Peter T. Daniels [+-]
Independent Scholar
Peter T. Daniels, the world’s leading expert on writing systems, holds degrees in linguistics from Cornell University and the University of Chicago. His first interests were in Comparative Semitic linguistics, which built to the study of writing and decipherment. His challenge to his teacher I. J. Gelb’s influential theories of the evolution of scripts has led to a persistent search for legitimate principles of the nature and development of writing. He is co-editor (with William Bright) of and principal contributor to The World’s Writing Systems (1996) and is hte author of An Exploration of Writing (Equinox, 2018).

Description

Writing begins when a society has developed a complex enough culture (“urbanization”)—and when that culture’s language is “monosyllabic.” This happened, we know, in ancient Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica. Once writing has developed, neighboring peoples (perhaps they didn’t meet the two criteria) can borrow, and often adapt, writing for their own.

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Citation

Daniels, Peter . 26. Where did Writing Come From?. The Five-Minute Linguist - Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages Third Edition. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 128-131 Jul 2019. ISBN 9781781798553. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38145. Date accessed: 08 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38145. Jul 2019

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