Written communication during the BCE Years

Written communication during the BCE Years

The Kish tablet is dated to 3500 B.C. and is considered by some experts to be the oldest form of known handwriting. It features proto-cuneiform signs - symbols that resemble a physical object. The Egyptian hieroglyphs are similar to this form of writing and date back to 3200 B.C.

Written language seems to have come about around 1200 B.C. in China and around 600 B.C. in the Americas.

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Communication

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  • The phonetic system does not use pictorial signs but symbols to refer to spoken sounds. Modern alphabets that many people in the world use today represent a phonetic form of communication.
  • Remnants of these systems appeared either around 19th century B.C. from the early Canaanite population, or the 15th century B.C. from a Semitic community that lived in central Egypt.
  • Over time, various forms of the Phoenician system of written communication began to spread. By the 8th century B.C., the Phoenician system reached Greece, where it changed to the Greek oral language.
  • In 105 China, an official Cai Lung suggested using "the bark of trees, remnants of hemp, rags of cloth, and fishing nets" for writing on instead of heavier bamboo or costlier silk material.
  • The Chinese followed that up with the invention of the first clay moveable type for printing paper books between 1041 and 1048.
  • Between 1436 and 1450, Gutenberg's printing press was developed. It introduced key innovations such as oil-based ink, mechanical movable type, and adjustable moulds.

In 1835, inventors Joseph Henry and Edward Davey independently demonstrated electromagnetic relay, where a weak electrical signal can be amplified and transmitted across long distances. Cooke and Wheatstone invented the telegraph shortly after.

A few years later, Samuel Morse developed a version that sent signals from Washington D.C. to Baltimore. Afterwards, he developed a system of signal-induced indentations that correlated to numbers, special characters, and letters of the alphabet, known as the Morse code.

  • The Greeks used messenger pigeons to deliver the results of the first Olympiad in the year 776 B.C. They also established a library in 530 B.C.
  • Near the end of the B.C. period, systems of long-distance communication became more commonplace. In Egypt and China, messenger relay stations were built. They used human messengers on foot or horseback.
  • In the year 14, the Romans established the first postal service. Mail delivery systems were already established in India and China.

The next idea to explore was finding a way to transmit sound to far distances. Alexander Graham Bell laid out the underlying technology for electromagnetic telephones and was granted a patent in 1876 for his improvements in telegraphy.

This introduced a new problem: what if you were not available if someone tried to call you? At the turn of the 20th century, Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen invented the telegraphone, a device for recording and playing back the magnetic fields produced by sound.

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RELATED IDEAS

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.
  • There are dyslexic readers in both areas, whether they are reading pictographic Chinese or the phonetic alphabet, suggesting that dyslexia has nothing to do with script.

Reading, That Strange and Uniquely Human Thing - Issue 94: Evolving - Nautilus

nautil.us

Johannes Gutenberg

He was a 15th-century German goldsmith and inventor and is known for creating the first metal movable-type printing press.

Gutenberg's inventions included a process for mass-producing movable type, the use of oil-based ink for printing books, and adjustable molds.

Heroes of Progress: Johannes Gutenberg

humanprogress.org

Clay tablets and papyrus scrolls
  • Long before the use of paper, the Stimarians - people of Mesopotamia who lived around 3500-3000 B.C. - invented the Cuneiform writing system. It consisted of pictographs and phonograms that was etched on clay tablets. This method of writing was around for 2000 years.
  • Papyrus Scroll dates from around 2400 B.C. They were made from the stem of the Papyrus plant and were about 10 - 40 metres long. Ancient Egyptians used reeds or bird feathers to write on the scrolls.

Turning the Pages: Evolution of Books

knowlab.in

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