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From the earliest scratches on stone and bone to the languages of computers and the Internet, this book offers an investigation into the origin and development of writing throughout the world. Commencing with the first stages of information storage - knot records, pebble counters, tally sticks, and pictographic storytelling - the book then focuses on the emergence of complete writing systems in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC, and their diffusion to Egypt, the Indus Valley and points east, with special attention given to Semitic writing systems and their eventual spread to the Indian subcontinent. Also documented is the rise of Phoenician and its effect on the Greek alphabet, generating the many alphabetic scripts of the West. Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese writing systems and scripts are dealt with in depth, as is writing in pre_colombian America. Also explored are Western Europe's medieval manuscripts and the history of printing, leading to the innovations in technology and spelling rules of the 19th and 20th centuries. Illustrated with numerous examples, this book offers a global overview in a form that everyone can follow. The author reveals his own discoveries made since the early 1980s, making it a useful reference for both students and specialists as well as the general reader.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781861891013
ISBN-10: 1861891016
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 145mm x 30mm)
Pages: 280
Imprint: Reaktion Books
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Steven R. Fischer

Steven Roger Fischer is Director of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of "Glyph-breaker" (1997). "A History of Writing" is part of Fischer s trilogy for Reaktion, which also includes "A History of Language" and "A History of Reading.""

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