Visible Evolution of Writing Techniques In direction of Latin Alphabet – A Speculation

1 The writing represents speech notion

Speech and writing originated independently of one another. Human speech in all probability appeared very long time earlier than writing. Earliest writings developed from drawings. They have been of visible origin, as pictographs, ideograms. As time glided by, writings have been spatially organized sequentially in strains, comparable to the sequential property of speech in time area. As writing programs developed within the alphabetic route, writings and speech related to one another tighter and tighter, persevering with to current day. The alphabets misplaced pictographic property. As alphabetic programs have changed their pictographic [1] predecessors and gained prevalence, it appears pure to conclude that the evolution of writing programs is to higher symbolize language sounds. This conclusion is elegant, intuitive, cheap and basing on info and researches. It actually can not clarify some instances, for example, the Chinese language did not evolve into alphabet. Nonetheless, the Chinese language characters are blamed to be too complicated to symbolize speech. The fashionable Chinese language writing is extra tightly related to spoken Chinese language than historic Chinese language writing does. Furthermore, characters have been simplified in mainland China. Chinese language writing appears like taking a small step in direction of representing speech. Little doubts have been casted on this conclusion, though many students take into account writing as greater than merely representing speech. Representing speech appears a destined route. Let’s be a bit skeptical on this pure conclusion.

With out rigorous proof, this conclusion is taken with no consideration by man attributable to its intuitiveness and accord to most info and historical past of alphabets. Let me now ask some fundamental questions. Why alphabets higher symbolize sounds than pictographs do? The way to decide if a script is nice at representing sounds? Are some alphabets higher in representing sounds than different alphabets are? Ought to evolution be attributed to the spoken type, written type or the representing itself? These easy questions will not be straightforward to reply. Why not attribute the evolution of writing to the visible type, then? That may actually have extra readability and change into easy as writing itself is visible creature. Why folks nonetheless stick with the ‘symbolize speech’ notion then? Following are some doable causes. Speech and writing each modified lots over time. They related to one another tighter and tighter and are thought-about similar factor – language. Speech is taken into account major in language, which is by far meant spoken language. Speech is related to human nature, whereas writing is taken into account an artifact. There are two factors. One is that they affiliate with one another. The opposite is speech is major. The latter is itself a profound, though taken with no consideration. Right here we take impartial place and will not attempt to approve nor reject it. As we’ve got mentioned, speech and writing has unbiased origins. The hyperlink between them shouldn’t be preexisting. They’re arrange after longtime use. The resultant connection between writing and speech should not be taken because the trigger for the writing to evolve. Fairly, the traits of writing must be analyzed to clarify the way it evolves visually. Then, the speech-writing affiliation’s affect on writing’s evolution must be addressed.

2 Visible evolution of writing

Evolution of writing is mirrored in its visible traits. We will simply see the salient visible distinction between alphabets and pictographs. Alphabet is a standardized set of letters. They normally comprise tens of letters, and are derived from complicated pictographic scripts. Pictographs are complicated and big in quantity. It’s comprehensible to suppose that they haven’t developed visually. If developed visually, why changing into easier as an alternative of extra complicated? If writing is taken as visible artwork, it ought to evolve in direction of better complexity. Nonetheless, writing is a method of communication, representing and recording data. The readability, comfort, effectivity and suitability for studying thus change into important concern. Initially, drawings have been to depict one thing instantly, as footage. They have been organized normally in strains to symbolize that means constantly. Apparently, the complicated pictographs will not be straightforward to acknowledge, decreasing studying accuracy. It impacts the studying fluency since extra time is spent fixating at one pictograph earlier than transferring to the following. Advanced symbols are discarded or simplified to facilitate linear studying. Some symbols had easier and clearer visible sample and have been extra incessantly used. Very long time handed, solely a set of symbols are left and standardized. We name them alphabets. The discount in quantity, simplification and standardization facilitate visible manipulation and memorization, main the alphabets to supersede pictographs. Alphabetic writing is extra appropriate for studying than pictographic programs. We use the phrase ‘legibility’ to indicate the idea ‘match for studying’, which we predict is the central in evolution.

How legibility takes impact? What’s the mechanism, then? Within the current world, texts explode. By way of web, one can simply discover texts of any topic. The scope of the written world is just about indefinite. Nonetheless, textual content nonetheless contains fundamental particular person symbols. Evaluation could be carried out on the symbols and sequence of symbols. By merely analyzing the symbols, we’re not overwhelmed by the explosion. These symbols are learn and written by human. They’ve impact on people by way of the eyes and mind. Legibility precept originates throughout studying, after which operates in considering and writing whereas visible information is saved and processed within the mind. Though legible symbols could be organized properly and skim simpler, the visible patterns themselves will not be the rationale for studying. Individuals learn as a result of the studying materials displays actual world which is of the reader’s curiosity. Studying materials is existent beforehand. They need to study and use current system no matter its legibility and have a tendency to learn the symbols they’re acquainted [2] with. Nonetheless, Texts of various levels of legibility have completely different results. Legible writing is well learn, memorized, processed by mind and written out. Legible writing impresses the eyes deeper and operates within the mind extra successfully and strongly. Extra writings of better legibility are learn and produced than these with much less legibility. After processing by the mind, the textual content written out has the tendency of being higher patterned than these which might be learn. That’s to say, legible writings have better energy to stimulate one to write down. Because of this, the writings produced later are typically extra legible than the sooner, altering the looks of the writing system. Legibility is individual-dependent. Particular person’s writing modifications will not be on the similar tempo. Change of a writing system is a results of modifications made by all people’ written works. The looks of post-change system normally doesn’t differ fully from pre-change system. This evolution is a very long time course of and may change into noticeable after generations.

Legibility precept operates ranging from particular person symbols, then all through whole writing system. The recognizability of image/phrase varieties, inter-differentiability of symbols, and inter-differentiability of phrases are the premise of a script’s legibility. Symbols/phrases are elementary. The energy of a writing system is normally judged on its entirety [3] – its all written works, the realm and other people it covers, all data it represents and so forth. The dominant system shouldn’t be essentially probably the most legible. However legibility will exhibit its energy as more-legible writing system grows quicker. Particular person symbols/phrases are constructing items of complete system and, mainly decide how the entire system appears like and the potential it may well develop. Legible symbols/phrases could be organized higher and develop additional. Legible system possesses extra written works or has the potential to be such. It could actually develop larger and thus symbolize extra data, resulting in its success. Symbols type phrases, sentences and ultimately an entire system. Guidelines/grammar develops for phrase formation and arranging phrases collectively. There are additionally really helpful methods of formatting and writing paragraphs, thesis and guide, however they have not change into guidelines. These guidelines and suggestions indicate the traits of bigger linguistic items, facilitating studying and increasing legibility from image stage to phrase, sentence ranges and all through all the system. As time goes on, more-legible system overpowers/replaces less-legible system.

3 Spoken language’s affect and sensible components

With out spoken language, writing would have positively developed otherwise because it has been.Writing itself is able to evolving alone. However, in actuality, speech influences its evolution considerably. Since they’re related, writing and speech affect one another [4]. Writing and speech have their very own traits, legibility for writing, pronounceability and comprehensibility for speech. Throughout their interplay, they’re affected by one another and in the meanwhile attempt to keep their very own traits. Nearly all present-day writings are pronounceable. That appears proof that writing represents speech. Nonetheless, from one other angle, we additionally see that the majority speeches are writable. It must be that they converge from unbiased origins into tight affiliation, as an alternative of merely one conforming to the opposite. Convergence is apparent in alphabetic programs however not in pictographic programs. Tighter affiliation results in better inter-influence. Tightly-associated speech and writing obtain mutual advantages as writing stimulates extra talking and speech induces extra writing. By way of affiliation, speech sounds got here to be a significant supply of latest phrase/expression creation. Some new symbols are created or borrowed to symbolize language sounds. Diacritics [5] are added to alter sound worth. These modifications make writing representing speech higher [6]. As speech sounds could be represented by completely different written symbols/phrases/phases, the legibility (visible shapes) of symbols/phrases/phases is contemplated over for selecting desired ones. In the course of the interactions between speech and writing, sounds might have an effect on the formation and evolution of writing programs. However the last determinant of its success is the visible legibility, match for processing, straightforward to be memorized and systemized. The visible type, as an alternative of affiliation/interplay with spoken language, is the central and deterministic in writing programs evolution. Spoken language works as a bridge between that means and writing. It’s not central in evolution course of. Quite the opposite, it attaches to its writing system for survival, development and unfold. We hypothesize that the writing programs evolve in direction of more-legible alphabetic programs via visible refinement, throughout interactions with speech sounds.

The evolution is difficult by dozens of sensible components. Firstly, the creation and unfold of writing depends on instruments, supplies, media, akin to pen, paper, printing and these days laptop and web. Technological development has reworked the looks of writing in addition to the best way writing is created, exists and spreads. Secondly, being sturdy, current written works inevitably resist the writing system reform or new scripts adoption, extra written works, stronger resistance. Lastly, writing system is utilized by folks and related to issues in a society. Improvement of writing system due to this fact has to do with the folks and issues. Writing system is related to nation, faith, training, economic system, legislation, science, tradition and so forth. It spreads and grows along with them. Writing system is commonly designated formally in a rustic or area. Its modifications are thus of regulatory, political and even army considerations. These components, speech and nonetheless different components complicate writing’s historical past. Writing presumably does not evolve alongside a straight line. However, of their complicated improvement historical past, writing programs with better legibility might be adopted by extra folks and prevail. It’s a rare feat of writing to include all these issues and current visually organized association to people.

4 The success of Latin alphabet and the way forward for written English

Because the prevailing alphabet of current world, Latin alphabet and its programs exemplify the legibility and speech-writing affiliation. It has been used for writing quite a few spoken languages and prevails for a lot of of them, no matter what sounds the languages possess. Visible function of its writing programs is answerable for its prevalence.

Not solely alphabetic programs outmoded pictographic programs, some alphabetic programs have changed or are overpowering different alphabetic programs. Totally different alphabets have been hard-tied with their spoken languages. Maybe all folks will say their respective alphabets are greatest to symbolize their spoken languages. Nonetheless, basing on legibility, their writing programs compete to develop for fulfillment over others. Latin programs achieve momentum in all alphabetic programs, invading different programs. The prevalence of Latin programs is in that they’ve easy and clearly inter-distinguishable letters, syllabic mixture of letters and phrases possessing built-in visible traits. Each letter is properly formed with nice recognizability. The letters are simply to be systematically organized. The ascenders and descenders of lowercase alphabets make letter combos and phrases extra legible. Most often, the uppercase letters are much less legible and had been outmoded by lowercase letters, though they symbolize similar sound as lowercase letters do. On the highest of Latin programs, English sits. The English’s match for studying clearly demonstrates writing itself as an alternative of representing speech is essential for a system to achieve benefit, because the English written works develop globally, beating different programs, in numerous speech communities. With biggest volumes of written works and nice legibility, the English writing system has unfold around the globe, by way of methods together with commerce, lecturers, training, struggle, colonization and most noticeable these days – technological evolution.

Apart from direct unfold of Latin programs, the Latin alphabet is used to write down languages initially written in different scripts (or none), a course of referred to as Romanization. Romanization can create new Latin alphabets-based system. For language already written in one other script, most individuals take into account Romanized system and authentic system as the identical language, although. That’s maybe attributable to its direct representing authentic writing/speech. Though Romanized system is taken as authentic language, Romanization is in reality Latin alphabet’s enlargement. The unique language is annexed into Latin programs. Romanized system brings folks nearer to different Latin programs. Figuring out the Romanized system, persons are readily to study different Latin programs. Romanization additionally brings new phrases into current Latin programs, whose audio system use some Romanized phrases as international phrases, which might enter native vocabulary over time. Romanization continues as a result of legibility of Romanized system. As current Latin programs unfold and develop, Romanization goes on to non-Latin system areas. Non-Latin programs are unlikely overpowered by Romanized programs alone, but it surely appears they’d be overwhelmed by the general enlargement of Latin programs.

As consultant of Latin programs, English writing system is rising by representing data, recording speech sounds and borrowing, amongst different means. The pattern of English’s dominance is continuous. Written English is utilized by increasingly more folks in non-native areas and would ultimately be adopted by all. English may even be spoken by extra folks following the unfold of written English [7]. Different writing programs could also be changed, Romanized or coexist with English.

Written English is systematic. It has 26 letters, established guidelines for word-formation and grammar. Will it evolve in elementary stage, i.e. its scripts, lexicon or grammar? Or it can solely proceed development basing on present system and guidelines? In close to future, radical change appears unlikely. English has change into worldwide language. With out problem, its fundamental look wouldn’t change. Fairly, it will develop upon current system when different language, tradition and new-found data are represented. On the long term, radical change can’t be dominated out. Theoretically, its future could be studied from its visible function and is ruled by legibility precept. In actuality, the evolution is now a world course of with billions of individuals’s participation. That’s completely very complicated. It’s formed by writings of each particular person.


[1] Non-sound ‘based mostly’ programs, akin to logographic system, usually comprise many symbols not picture-like. They are often handled like pictographic system in that in addition they do not have well-established sign-sound correspondence. We talk about pictographic system. Conclusion could be simply generalized to different non-sound based mostly programs.

[2] Individuals normally really feel the acquainted system simpler to learn than unfamiliar ones. Thus, to research legibility, familiarity must be taken under consideration.

[3] Techniques of the identical script could be completely different. As an example, we take into account English system as a unique system from different Latin alphabet-based programs.

[4] Writing’s affect on speech is super.

[5] It’s the English alphabets with out (or hardly ever use) diacritics prevails, owing to diacritics normally makes readability worse.

[6] The visible traits of alphabets make them match for representing sounds and might account for the tightness of speech-writing affiliation. Writing evolves visually in direction of the alphabetic varieties which in the meanwhile associates extra tightly with speech than pictographs did.

[7] That is and was in all probability the case for native English-speaking international locations.

Supply by Charley Pein

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