The Thinking Alphabet


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16 Games That Teach Letter Names, Letter Shapes, and Letter Writing

When you paint you are representing your message using a continuous pattern with a seemingly endless number of possible forms. You are free to express yourself. When humans began developing writing systems, we naturally had to divide our world into a finite number of atomic units which we express using symbols.

Alphabet of Ugarit

Any written language can be thought of in this way. Messages are formed by arranging symbols in specific patterns. Let's return to 3, BC and explore two ancient writing systems. First, in ancient Egypt, we had Hieroglyphics, a priestly form of communication reserved for governmental, fiscal, magical, and religious purposes. It was practiced by a select few writers known as scribes, and writing was generally unintelligible to the common people.

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The symbols themselves broadly fall into two categories, word signs, which are symbols that represent a single meaningful concept Woman showing mouth: Back. These symbols represent chunks of sound. Dark haired woman: Be. Boy in red shirt: Ze. Girl in black shirt: Ton. Boy in green shirt: Ca.

Brit: Now, the total number of different symbols in common use was over 1,, and if you divide all of these symbols into word signs versus sound signs, we find a much smaller portion of sound signs. There were around sound signs, and of these, only 33 represented distinct consonants, a tiny fraction of all of the symbols in use. At the time, the medium used to store the symbols was primarily rock, and this was ideal for durable inscriptions, allowing messages to travel into the future.

Mobility was not a main concern when communicating messages in this way. However, a new physical medium for storing symbols was emerging at the time.

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Along the Nile, silt deposits left from flooding made the surrounding land extremely fertile, and one of the many crops they grew was Papyrus. It could be sliced into strips, and these strips were then soaked, bell tones Brit: and weaved together and finally pressed, allowing the natural sugars to act as glue. This shift toward cheap portable mediums for storing symbols coincided with the spread of writing into the hands of more people for new purposes. Gradually, as people began to write more on Papyrus, the symbols evolved to suit more rapid writing.

This lead to a cursive script, known as Hieratic.

For example, here is the world's oldest surviving surgical document. It's written in Hieratic script, dated to around BC. These symbols were based on Hieroglyphics, however the pictures were simplified to match the swiftness of writing in ancient shorthand.

Some scholars theorize that it was based off of the order of Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of the most popular theories suggests that there was a numerical component; each letter had a number equivalent, and those have just been lost over time. Others have theorized that the order came from a mnemonic device meant to help people remember it—some kind of sentence where each letter became a full word, like the technique you used in school to remember the order of the planets.

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Can you imagine what a odd-letter mnemonic device would be like, though? Personally, we much prefer the song! Next, learn the science behind why some songs get stuck in your head.

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The Thinking Alphabet The Thinking Alphabet
The Thinking Alphabet The Thinking Alphabet
The Thinking Alphabet The Thinking Alphabet
The Thinking Alphabet The Thinking Alphabet
The Thinking Alphabet The Thinking Alphabet

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