Writing is a symbolic or graphical representation of any language, it developed independently in many early civilizations. Real writing system is preceded by proto-writing systems which often involve simple pictures or symbols representing objects or concepts directly. Numbers started to be written a lot earlier than languages. One of the earliest known real system of writing is cuneiform, developed in Sumer in between 3400BC-3200BC.
Stages of development in a writing system
1. Picture Writing System: In this stage, simple images called glyphs are used to depict certain objects or concepts, this stage can be further divided into three sub-stages
|SVG version of Image:Jiahu writing.gif using Inkscape. Examples of the script found at the Jiahu archaeological site|
2. Transitional System: In this stage, graphemes represent names along with ideas or concepts.
3. Phonetic System: In this stage, graphemes are used to represent certain sounds and meaning of graphemes are no longer dependent upon its form. This stage is further divided into three stages:
|Cursive hieroglyphs from Papyrus of Ani, an example of the Egyptian Book of the Dead by Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.|
|An inscription in Maya hieroglyphics from the site of Naranjo, (now in Peten,Guatemala) Stela 10, relating to the reign of king Itzamnaaj K’awil, 784-810.
Photo by Teoberto Maler