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Thread: How Humans Learned to Read...Symbolism to Written Word...

  1. #1 How Humans Learned to Read...Symbolism to Written Word... 
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    Clay tokens, turtle shells, Incan quipus...how did we go from that to sound-symbol correspondence, to hieroglyphics, then writing? How were sounds matched up to objects? How did abstract thought evolve..or was it ever-present?


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    In the west it began with marking sealed clay vessels. We impressed a picture so we wouldn't have to crack it open to know the contents. Then we also wanted ownership markings, i.e. a personal sign much like a brand. Perhaps a picture of the destination, season, etc. all literal pictographs. And practically these marks had to be stamped stamped stamped all around a vessel. Meanwhile we'd been rolling serrated & laboriously patterned wheels around clay vessels to impress linear motifs. So the next jump was to roll/read/write pictographs in linear format.

    Having symbols in sequence enabled logical expressions, with ad hoc clusters of standard symbols describing "words" not in the common lexicon. So we could actually streamline the lexicon at that stage.

    As trade became more complex, and middlemen as well as ignorant couriers the norm, the variety, stylization, and nuance of these patterns blossomed. A person might be more or less literate.

    The transition from pictograph to phonetic was long and awkward. Egyptian hieroglyphs prime example.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Forum Senior Kukhri's Avatar
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    Anthropologists say the Inca may have used intricate knots as an early form of writing. It may have begun as an abacus like system for recording numbers.

    String and Knot Theory of Inca Writing
    Co-producer of Red Oasis
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