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Who invented writing?

The alphabet we know today is the result of multiple evolutions. The beginnings of this mode of communication, namely rock art, dating back to prehistoric times. But the assembly of signs to express an idea came later.

Back on the birth of writing in the different major regions of the world to find the inventor. It seems that writing appeared in Mesopotamia (currently, Iraq and its surroundings) in 3400 BC. It is precisely in two of the regions that compose it, Akkad and Sumer, that the first forms of the spelling or the basics of a first writing system called cuneiform.

Mesopotamia: the invention of writing

In its infancy, the spelling was made up of pictograms, and the direction of the writing was not determined. Then, it gradually evolved into a wedge shape, characterized by lines, corners, and tips. Over a hundred signs have been identified by specialists. Their interpretation is subjective since these graphic signs represent both sounds (phonograms) and thoughts (logograms).

The implementation of this system was made possible thanks to the use of clay and reed, raw materials widely available in this region of the world. The reed was worked so that it takes the shape of a point, the Calame, which is none other than the ancestor of the pencil. The calligraphy exercise using this tool was not the easiest, because it consisted of engraving the shapes on clay tablets. The economic boom would have created the need to invent writing, a new mode of communication making it possible to keep archives of trade exchanges in particular.

The other cradles of writing

Besides Mesopotamia, other regions have had an influence on the development of the written language and are therefore among the inventors of writing. One of them is Egypt. The hieroglyphs would have appeared in 3200 BC. This spelling is distinguished by the use of three types of signs: the ideogram, or representation of a word or an action; the phonogram, to personify a sound; the determinative, or mute sign.

This writing had appeared after that developed in Mesopotamia, it is possible that it is one of its evolutions. Composed essentially of 700 signs representing everyday objects, it has evolved to give birth to more complex systems, such as the Coptic or hieratic writing. Among the other cradles of writing are Greece and China. In Greece, a linear writing system representing syllables would have appeared in -2000 BC, and the first sinograms (Chinese ideograms) would date back to 1100 BC. Our alphabet has therefore evolved considerably since then.

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