Origins of the Alphabet. Ideograph. Pictograph. Picture-writing of the American Indian. Cave painting at Lascaux. Harappan Civilization in India 2000BC.
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Ideograph Pictograph Picture-writing of the American Indian
Cave painting at Lascaux Harappan Civilization in India 2000BC
The history of the alphabet begins in Ancient Egypt, more than a millennium into the history of writing. The first pure alphabet emerged around 2000 BC to represent the language of Semitic workers in Egypt (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets), and was derived from the alphabetic principles of the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Most alphabets in the world today either descend directly from this development, for example the Greek and Latin alphabets, or were inspired by its design. Karnak Temple where some of the best preserved writing still exists.
Most hieroglyphic signs are phonetic in nature, meaning the sign is read independent of its visual characteristics (according to the rebus principle where, for example, the picture of an eye could stand for the English words eye
One reconstruction of 23 letters, equivalent to the Phoenician alphabet which evolved from it, follows. The Latin descendants are given in parentheses. • alp "ox" (A) • b bet "house" (B) • g gaml "throwstick" (C, G) • d digg "fish" (D) • h haw / hll "jubilation" (E) • w waw "hook" (F, U, V, W, Y) • z zen /ziqq "manacle" (Z) • ḥ ḥet "courtyard" (H) • ṭ ṭēt ([]) "wheel" • y yad "arm" (I, J) • k kap "hand" (K) • l lamd "goad" (L) • m mem "water" (M) • n naḥš "snake" (N) • s samek "fish" (X) • ʻ ʿen "eye" (O) • p piʾt "corner" (P) • ṣ ṣad "plant" • q qup "monkey" (Q) • r raʾs "head" (R) • š/ś šimš "sun, the Uraeus" (S) • t taw "signature" (T) • ġ ġʿen "thread" (Gh)
When the Egyptians began to write, about 3000 BC, they wrote from the beginning in ink, on papyrus (pah-PIE-russ). Papyrus is a plant that grows wild all over the Nile river valley, which is to say it is very common in Egypt. You can cut the long stalks and soak them in water until they rot a little, and then you lay a lot of these stalks next to each other, and a lot of other stalks on top, crossways to the first ones, and then you pound them flat, until all the stalks get mashed into all the other ones, and you have something a lot like paper. The Greeks and the Romans also used a lot of papyrus, all bought in Egypt because that is where papyrus grows. But it wasn't cheap! One sheet probably cost about what $20 is worth today. So when the Islamic empire learned how to make paper from rags from the Chinese about 700 AD, people quickly stopped using papyrus, even in Egypt.
Early Greek alphabet on pottery in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens The most notable change in the Greek alphabet, as an adaptation of the Phoenician alphabet,
The lapidary (stone-engraved) capital letters of Roman Empirean period (from the 1th century BC to the 5th century AD). Although the Roman alphabet took many forms, Capitalis Monumentalis (Roman capitals) have exerted the most influence on lettering and typographic developrment. Many versions of these exist, principally on inscriptions. The most famous example is on the column of Imperor Trajan in Roman Forum from 114 AD. There was no word spaces and words were divided by centerpoints. Greek letters used in mathematics, science, and engineering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_letters_used_in_mathematics
Phoenician alphabet It became one of the most widely used writing systems, and was spread by traders of Phoenicia across Europe and the Middle East, where it became used for a variety of languages and spawned many subsequent scripts. Many modern writing systems thought to have descended from Phoenician cover much of the world
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. Latin alphabet world distribution. The dark green areas shows the countries where this alphabet is the sole main script. The light green shows the countries where the alphabet co-exists with other scripts.
Parent systems Proto-Canaanite alphabet → Phoenician alphabet → Greek alphabet → Old Italic alphabet → Latin alphabet
The oldest Chinese inscriptions that are indisputably writing are the Oracle bone script
Neolithic signs The legend of the creation of chinese characters According to legend, though, Chinese characters were invented earlier by Cangjie (c. 2650 BC),
Replica of the Ramkhamhaeng inscription, the oldest inscription using Thai script
Sanskrit (संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a classical language of India Pali (IAST: Pāḷi) is a Middle Indo-Aryan dialect or prakrit. It is best known as the language of the earliest extant Buddhist canon