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Student Question

Secondary I • 1yr.


Where does writing come from?

Thank you !


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Explanations (1)

  • Explanation from Alloprof

    Explanation from Alloprof

    This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

    Team Alloprof • 1yr.


    The first form of writing was invented by traders in Mesopotamia, because they needed to keep accounts of different transactions. This first form of writing was more like drawings. In this case, why don't we say that the drawings found in the caves of Lascaux, dating from -18,000 to -15,000, are the first forms of writing? This question is more complex, but these cave paintings are seen more as frescoes, an art form, rather than a form of writing with the purpose of communicating or preserving information.

    The writing invented by the traders of Mesopotamia then evolved in order to meet new needs: religious, administrative, scientific, etc. The writing system has therefore become more complex in order to meet more complex goals than the simple trade balance. Over time, other forms of writing appeared: cuneiform writing, pictographic writing, ideographic writing and phonetic writing. Finally, around 1400 BC, the first alphabet saw the light of day. The arrangement of a small number of letters (30 characters) made it possible to form words, instead of having a different symbol for each word. However, the first alphabet did not include any vowel! The alphabet that I use today to answer your question comes from this writing system which was largely modified after its invention, mainly by the ancient Greeks.

    Also, you should know that our alphabet is not the only one in the world and that there are various other forms of writing, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Africa! There are over 40 different alphabets in the world! Some have been around for a short time and others have origins that go back thousands of years.

    Do not hesitate to write to us again if you have any other questions! :)