Writing Systems and the Emergence of Written Language
Please read this excerpt from Robison's Story of Writing Book, then please listen to this Lexicon Valley Podcast about Sequoyah Talking Leaves and Lightning Paper. (transcript is available by following the link).
- Why do you think writing only emerged ~5000 years ago? What are the chief difficulties in inventing it?
- What’s a rebus? Why is it on the border between proto-writing and full-writing? What do you think distinguishes proto-writing from full-writing?
- Can you read a pictogram? What’s hard about it?
- Why do you think languages use different scripts (syllabaries, logograms, alphabets, etc.). Why do you think Sequoyah ended up choosing a syllabary for the Cherokee language?
- What’s the role of prestige in the evolution/adoption of writing systems?