Moving from pictures to the alphabet - Deepstash

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Moving from pictures to the alphabet

  • Ancient writing took the leap from drawing a picture as a picture (a logogram) to using it to depict a sound (or phonogram). A "bee" can be used for the sound "be", and when used together with a drawing of a "leaf", they produce the meaning "be-lief."
  • But ambiguity arises when we don't know when a bee is a bee, and when is it a sound. Classifiers were added to clear up the confusion. Chinese still uses this system, with pictures, classifier elements, plus phonetics.
  • Around 4,000 ago, the alphabet was invented, where symbols only depicted a sound.

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MORE IDEAS ON THIS

All people read much in the same way

All people read much in the same way

People everywhere read words in a very similar way regardless if it is made from pictures, such as pictographs (Chinese characters), or words made from letters.

This knowledge gives us insight into how writing developed and how we read as well as how we can delve deeper in...

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The two systems of writing

Japanese children learn two writing systems: The kanji system is based on Chinese characters, and the kana system is purely phonetic.

  • Research shows that the same areas in the brain are activated when reading both types of script.

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Writing developed as a response to a need

Some of the earliest writing is from 3000B.C. Mesopotamia. They recorded entries on tablets about the quantities of goods in some kind of bookkeeping.

They wrote down in order to keep account of who delivered what when. But this system was still far away from expressing ideas and writing g...

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Reading is a complex task

Different areas of the brain are active when we read. We extract visual information that is correlated with sound to get meaning.

Reading does not just involve learning the letters. You have to understand and recognize the words, too. Skilled readers learn to recognize the...

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