Writing is a very important aspect of today’s civilization. With all the Internet and mobile phone messaging available today, a person can only wonder and be amazed by how far communication and the writing system has reached.
From the early civilization of Mesopotamia to the ancient writing system of the early Egyptians — writing does indeed have a very long history and a very wonderful beginning and development.What a person may notice from many sources and researches is that writing did not really start with alphabet and letters. The early form of writing came to be because of the need of numbers and record keeping. The people from ancient civilizations had to find a way to record the things important to them which were related to their daily living, like the months or weeks before the next harvest or the amount which they have harvested. The need for more concrete means of record keeping and communication soon evolved, and before long, the early people started to draw. In fact, many writing systems of many cultures and countries are based on actual drawings which just later on became symbols and were finally simplified into letters (Fischer 13-20).
The usage of pictures in depicting what a person wanted to say during the ancient times was not common as it can be seen today. The pictures that were drawn were used as a means of a messaging system. The need for a messaging system is the concept of how writing came to be. Thus, this is what this paper will focus on—a time line of the usage and development of the pictograms and other writing systems of the ancient civilizations. Although the history and development of writing is very extensive and intensive, this paper will give a brief introduction to writing and will mainly focus on the time wherein pictograms were used and for how long this form of writing or means of communication was used by the people.Pictograms are basically the drawing and carving used by early civilizations to give messages to one another or to record certain events and people (“Pictogram”). They could be seen as the earliest form of alphabet — carvings on the caves of the dwellings of the primitive man and the carvings on the temples and pyramid walls of the ancient Egyptians are more than proof to prove that the pictograms did exist. Men wrote pictograms as to depict what they wanted to say and wanted the others to know.
Carvings on the wall were created as the ancient men wanted their descendants to know what happened to them or to pass some knowledge of some sort. As in the case of the Egyptians, the carvings on their pyramid and temple walls were to inform the descendants of the great legacy which their forebears had, while the case of the Mayan carvings were to inform the people of the steps of their rituals and traditions.However, more often than not, people back then would use writing for one important means — for survival. Thus, they recorded how many months to go before the next harvest or left a message to their wives that they would go hunting in the second mountain from where the sun rises. Their messages were direct and straight to the point as well as primitive. But no matter how primitive their writing may be, the message came across and was not misunderstood as they focused more on meaning rather than symbol or word formation.Perhaps, the people of the contemporary times would want to learn a thing or two from the ancient people when it comes to getting their messages across. No matter how modern and up-to-date the writing systems we may have now—what is most important is that the message comes across clearly and easily.
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