The Development of Writing and its Consequences
Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: Sehr gut, University of Münster (Englisches Seminar), course: Literature and the Media, language: English, abstract: 'The importance of writing lies in its creating a new medium of communication between men. Its essential service is to objectify speech, to provide language with a material correlative, a set of visible signs. In this material form speech can be transmitted over space and preserved over time; what people say and think can be rescued from the transitoriness of oral communication.' If one reads the quotation given above, there soon arises the question of what was before mankind invented writing. Goody speaks of the 'transitoriness of oral communication'. Did people know nothing about their past? How did a particular tribe constitute their identity? These questions will be briefly responded to in the following chapter. Subsequently, the focus will be on different writing systems, especially on the alphabetic one and its impact on human cognitive skills. Then, the phenomenon of restricted literacy will be shown by giving the examples of China, India and Tibet. Thereafter, a leap from Asia to ancient Greece, the cradle of the modern alphabet, is made and then, with reference to Plato, some negative consequences of writing will be illustrated. The last chapter deals with the invention of the printing press and its great impact on literacy.
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