Composing – a method of graphic markings representing the devices of the particular language zobacz mapę strony

Composing – a method of graphic markings representing the devices of the particular language

18 grudnia 2019

Composing – a method of graphic markings representing the devices of the particular language

Composing – something of visual markings representing the units of the language that is specific happens to be developed independently when you look at the Near East, China and Mesoamerica. The cuneiform script, produced in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, ca. 3200 BC, was initially. Additionally it is really the only writing system which are often traced to its earliest origin that is prehistoric. This antecedent for the cuneiform script had been a method of counting and recording items with clay tokens. The development of composing from tokens to pictography, alphabet and syllabary illustrates the development of information processing to cope with bigger quantities of information in ever greater abstraction.


The 3 writing systems that developed separately within the Near East, Asia and Mesoamerica, shared a stability that is remarkable. Each preserved over millennia features characteristic of their initial prototypes. The Mesopotamian cuneiform script could be traced furthest back in prehistory to a millennium that is eighth counting system making use of clay tokens of numerous forms. The development from tokens to script reveals that writing emerged from accounting and counting. Writing had been utilized solely for accounting before the millennium that is third, once the Sumerian concern for the afterlife paved the best way to literary works by making use of writing for funerary inscriptions. The development from tokens to script also documents a progression that is steady abstracting data, from one-to-one communication with three-dimensional concrete tokens, to two-dimensional photos, the innovation of abstract numbers and phonetic syllabic indications and lastly, into the 2nd millennium BC, the greatest abstraction of sound and meaning with all the representation of phonemes because of the letters associated with the alphabet.

Composing is peoples kind’s principal technology for gathering, manipulating, storing, retrieving, interacting and information that is disseminating. Composing was devised separately 3 times in various components of the world: within the Near East, China and Mesoamerica. In just what issues this final script, it’s still obscure how symbols and glyphs employed by the Olmecs, whose tradition flourished over the gulf coast of florida ca 600 to 500 BC, reappeared into the traditional Maya art and writing of 250-900 AD along with other Mesoamerican cultures (Marcus 1992). The initial inscriptions that are chinese dated towards the Shang Dynasty, c. 1400–1200 BC, consist of oracle texts engraved on animal bones and turtle shells (Bagley 2004). The extremely abstract and standard indications suggest prior developments, that are currently undocumented.

Of those three writing systems, consequently, just the earliest, the Mesopotamian cuneiform script, created in Sumer, present-day Iraq, c. 3200 BC, is traced without the discontinuity over a length of 10,000 years, from a prehistoric antecedent to your present-day alphabet. Its development is divided in to four stages: (a) clay tokens representing devices of products had been utilized for accounting (8000–3500 BC); (b) the 3 dimensional tokens had been transformed into two-dimensional pictographic indications, and just like the previous tokens, the script that is pictographic solely for accounting (3500–3000 BC); (c) phonetic indications, introduced to transcribe the title of people, marked the turning point whenever composing began emulating talked language and, because of this, became relevant to all or any areas of individual experience (3000–1500 BC); (d) with two dozen letters, each standing for an individual sound of sound, the alphabet perfected the rendition of message. After ideography, logography and syllabaries, the alphabet represents an additional segmentation of meaning.

1. Tokens as Precursor of Composing

The antecedent that is direct of Mesopotamian script had been a recording unit composed of clay tokens of numerous shapes (Schmandt-Besserat 1996). The items, mostly of geometric types such as for instance cones, spheres, disks, cylinders and ovoids, are restored in archaeological web web web sites dating 8000–3000 BC (Fig. 1). The tokens, utilized as counters to help keep tabs on products, had been the code—a system that is earliest of indications for transmitting information. Each token form had been semantic, talking about a specific device of product. For instance, a cone and a sphere stood correspondingly for a little and a big way of measuring grain, and ovoids represented jars of oil. The repertory of some 3 hundred kinds of counters managed to get feasible to govern and keep information about numerous types of products (Schmandt-Besserat 1992).

(Fig. 1) Envelope, tokens and matching markings, from Susa, Iran (Courtesy Musee du Louvre,
Departement des Antiquites Orientales)

The system that is token little in accordance with spoken language except that, such as a term, a token stood for starters concept. Unlike message, tokens had been limited to one form of information just, particularly, real products. Unlike talked language, the token system made no usage of syntax. In other words, their meaning had been separate of these positioning order. Three cones and three ovoids, spread in just about any means, had been to be translated ‘three baskets of grain, three jars of oil.’ additionally, the truth that exactly the same token forms had been utilized in a big section of the Near East, where lots of dialects could have been talked, demonstrates that the counters are not according to phonetics. Consequently, the products they represented had been expressed in numerous languages. The system that is token how many devices of merchandize in one-to-one communication, easily put, the sheer number of tokens matched how many devices counted: x jars of oil were represented by x ovoids. Repeating ‘jar of oil’ x times to be able to show plurality is unlike talked language.

2. Pictography: Composing as Accounting Unit

After four millennia, the system that is token to writing. The change from counters to script occurred simultaneously in Sumer and Elam, present-day western Iran when, around 3500 BC, Elam had been under Sumerian domination. It took place whenever tokens, most likely representing a financial obligation, had been kept in envelopes until re payment. These envelopes made from clay in the form of a ball that is hollow the drawback of hiding the tokens held inside. Some accountants, therefore, impressed the tokens at first glance for the envelope before enclosing them inside, so the form and quantity of counters held in might be confirmed at all times (Fig. 1). These markings had been the very first signs of composing. The metamorphosis from three-dimensional items to two-dimensional markings failed to impact the semantic concept regarding the system. The importance associated with markings on the exterior of this envelopes ended up being the same as compared to the tokens held inside.

The envelopes filled with tokens about 3200 BC, once the system of impressed signs was understood, clay tablets—solid cushion-shaped clay artifacts bearing the impressions of tokens—replaced. The impression of a cone and a sphere token, representing measures of grain, lead correspondingly in a wedge and a marking that is circular bore the exact same meaning since the tokens they signified (Fig. 2). These people were ideograms—signs representing one concept. The impressed pills proceeded to be utilized solely to record levels of products gotten or disbursed. They nevertheless indicated plurality in one-to-one communication.

(Fig. 2) Impressed tablet featuring a free account of grain, from Godin Tepe, Iran (Courtesy Dr. T. Cuyler younger, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto)

Pictographs—signs representing tokens traced by having a stylus in place of impressed—appeared about 3100 BC. These pictographs discussing items mark a crucial part of the evolution of writing since they had been never duplicated in one-to-one communication to state numerosity. Besides them, numerals—signs representing plurality—indicated the total amount of devices recorded. The numerals standing respectively for ‘10’ and ‘1’ (Fig. 3) for example, ‘33 jars of oil’ were shown by the incised pictographic sign ‘jar of oil’, preceded by three impressed circles and three wedges. The symbols for numerals are not new. These were the impressions of cones and spheres formerly representing measures of grain, which in turn had obtained an extra, abstract, numerical meaning. The innovation of numerals meant an economy that is considerable of since 33 jars of oil might be written with 7 instead of 33 markings.

(Fig. 3) Pictographic tablet featuring a merchant account of 33 measures of oil, from Godin Tepe, Iran (Courtesy Dr. T. Cuyler younger, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto)

In amount, with its first period, composing remained mostly only expansion associated with former system that is token. The symbolism remained fundamentally the same although the tokens underwent formal transformations from three- to two-dimensional and from impressed markings to signs traced with a stylus. The tablets were used exclusively for accounting (Nissen and Heine 2009) like the archaic counters. It was additionally the actual situation when a stylus, manufactured from a reed with a triangular end, offered towards the indications the wedge-shaped ‘cuneiform’ appearance (Fig. 4). In most these circumstances, the medium changed in type although not in content. The actual only real departure that is major the token system consisted within the development of two distinct kinds of indications: incised pictographs and impressed numerals. This mix of signs initiated the semantic unit between the product counted and number.

(Fig. 4) Economic cuneiform tablet (Courtesy Texas Memorial Museum, The University of Texas at Austin)