Lecture Notes - Writing & Literacy

Lecture Notes - Writing & Literacy - 3 Each step...

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Making of the Modern World 1: Prehistory and the Birth of Civilization Professor Scott L. Vandehey Fall 2008, Track D Nov. 10 th , 2008 Overview of the day 0. What is writing? 1. Origins of writing 2. Social significance of writing A Magical Technology 3. Ability to record and transmit thoughts 4. Across time 5. Across space 6. Permanency What is Writing? 0. Graphical form of expression 1. Standardized representations 2. Phonetic 3. Infinitely variable and expandable 4. Symbolic representation of language 5. Writing is not language Writing Sounds 6. Ideograph 0. Convey specific idea 1. New symbol for every idea 7. Syllabary 2. Convey a sound 3. No longer necessarily related to image 4. New symbol for every syllable recognized 8. Alphabet 5. Conveys sound units smaller than syllables 6. Small number of symbols for massive number of sounds Development of Writing
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0. Approx. 5000 years ago 1. Probably in Sumeria (possibly Egypt or Indus Valley) 2. 7. Clay tokens 8. Tokens to pictures 9. Pictures to markings 10. Markings to representations of sounds
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Unformatted text preview: 3. Each step, reduction in # of signs 4. Each step, increase in complexity & abstraction 5. Diffusion to other areas Societies without Writing 7. All communication face-to-face 8. All knowledge is memorized 9. No sense of history 0. What is not important for contemporary life is forgotten 1. Past is assumed to be like present Societies with Writing 10. Used to record 11. Administrative and commercial use 12. Difficulty of early writing 13. Religion tied to administrative functions 2. Writing becomes tied to rituals Writing & Social Inequalities 14. Difficulty of early writing 3. Easily monopolized by elites 15. Writing records activities & thoughts 4. Makes things rigid and permanent 5. Serves as a conservative force Other Implications of Writing 9. Accumulation of knowledge 11. Philosophy 12. Myth 13. History 10. Sense of historical change 14. Cultural inheritance 15. Sense that the past may be “lost” 11. Use as art/entertainment...
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Lecture Notes - Writing & Literacy - 3 Each step...

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