Intro to Ancient Writing Systems

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2 Cave painting from Lascaux, c. 15,000 10,000 B.C. Random placement and shifting scale signify prehistoric people s lack of structure and sequence in recording their experiences.

3 Beautifully drawn but not intended for aesthetic purposes, these cave paintings are intended to record and communicate information, just as graphic designers do with contemporary images. Intro to Ancient Writing Systems

4 Early Sumerian pictographic tablet, c B.C. This archaic pictographic script contained the seeds for the development of writing. Information is structured into grid zones by horizontal and vertical division.

5 This clay tablet demonstrates how the Sumerian symbols for star (which also meant heaven or god ), head, and water evolved from early pictographs (3100 B.C.). The latter were turned on their side by 2800 B.C. and evolved into the early cuneiform writing by 2500 B.C.

6 Oral communications Oral languages must always precede written languages - The written words are merely the symbolic representations of the spoken words. Kate Clair

7 Mnemonics (na mon iks) Memory aids were passed from generation to generation to allow societies to remember their myths, histories, legends and folklore. '30 days hath September' The fault with oral tradition is the lack of accuracy of information being passed from generation to generation.

8 Image-Making Pictorial images need to be simplified in order to communicate ideas effectively. The process of simplifying images into standardized symbols is the basis for an alphabet or codified system.

9 Pictographs Simplified symbols used to represent the object or word depicted, often representing nouns or things. The earlier known writing societies were the Sumerians (Middle East), Egypt (Africa), China and India (Near East). Sumerians Cuneiform 3000 BC Egyptians Hieroglyphics 2800 BC Chinese Kanji 1800 BC India Sanskrit 1500 BC

10 Pictographs vs. Ideographs Ideographs Are signs or characters that represent an idea or concept. They usually combine two or more pictographs.

11 Communication with symbol language Using the English alphabet, write down a single sentence that describes a highlight from your summer or winter break. On a separate sheet of paper, translate that information using only symbols to represent the words/ideas on your paper.

12 Pictographs vs. Ideographs vs. Rebus Rebus The use of pictographs to represent the syllables of objects.

13 These Egyptian hieroglyphs illustrate the rebus principle. Words and syllables are represented by pictures of objects and by symbols whose names are similar to the word or syllable to be communicated. These hieroglyphs mean bee, leaf, sea, and sun. As rebuses (using the English language) they could also mean belief and season.

14 Cuneiform Cuneiform The Sumerian style of wedge-shaped characters that are pressed into damp clay with a stylus. Writing surfaces and tools The marks used to represent various objects and ideas are greatly influenced by the tools and materials available to write on.

15 Cuneiform Intro to Ancient Writing Systems

16 Picto Chart From pictograph to Script Writing surfaces Clay tablets Papyrus Scrolls Parchment Stone Papermaking

17 Pictographs Phoenician alphabet Greek alphabet Roman alphabet Intro to Ancient Writing Systems

18 Cartouches The names of pharaohs, believed to be descendants of the gods, were placed within the ankh symbol (Representing infinity). Their names were written as Phonograms, combining the first uttered sound of the symbol to sound out the proper name.

19 Hieroglyphics Writing system developed in Egypt that used pictographs to represent words and sounds. Eventually hieroglyphic pictographs were put together in in a rebus-like manner. Here we re beginning to approach a truly phonetic alphabet.

20 Rosetta Stone Key to unlocking hieroglyphics. It contained the same message in three different alphabets: Ancient Greek, Hieroglyphics and Demotic script.

21 Review Questions 1. What was a possible use of writing when it was first developed? 2. How is an ideograph different from a pictograph? 3. Name several materials used as writing surfaces. 4. What made the Phoenician alphabet unique? 5. When and where was cuneiform developed?

22 Review Questions 6. Name three locations where early writing systems developed? 7. What is a rebus? 8. What do the forms of an alphabet tell us about the culture of the people?

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