Independent Articles and Advice
Login | Register
Finance | Life | Recreation | Technology | Travel | Shopping | Odds & Ends
Top Writers | Write For Us


PRINT |  FULL TEXT PAGES:  1 2 3 4
The Origins and History of the Alphabet 
 
by Allen Butler July 08, 2005

Although we call it the Latin alphabet, and it has a Greek name, the alphabet actually has far older origins.

We all learn our ABC’s as children, but do we know where the alphabet comes from? We call it the Latin alphabet, but then why does it have a Greek name? The alphabet wasn’t invented by the Greeks either. Where does it come from?

Egypt, Sumeria and the Origins of Writing

Writing began in ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both writing systems were developed independently, and they are very different from each other.

  • Cuneiform. Cuneiform is the system of writing developed by the ancient Sumerians, between 3500 and 3100 BC. Sumeria was one of the first civilizations to develop in the world. It resided in the area of what is now Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Their system of writing consisted of wedge shaped marks made with the edge of a stylus pressed into clay. The clay would then be baked so the marks could not be removed. “Cuneiform” is a Greek word meaning “wedge-shaped.”
  • Hieroglyphs. The ancient Egyptians, another of the first civilizations, developed a very different system of writing than the Sumerians. It was developed about the same time as cuneiform, but involved tiny pictures or glyphs which were used to represent words.

Neither of these writing systems incorporated a true alphabet. The majority of symbols were used to identify whole words, or multiple syllables, unlike our own monosyllabic alphabet. Because of this they incorporated a far greater range of symbols in order to write than cultures using an alphabet.

PREV PAGE 1 2 3 4 NEXT PAGE

 




Home  |  Write For Us  |  FAQ  |  Copyright Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  Link to Us  |  About  |  Contact

© 2005 GoogoBits.com. All Rights Reserved.