14007Re: [ANE-2] Re: Oldest writing system
- Jan 5, 2012They look more like a musical notation to me.
Den Haag, the Netherlands
From: Peter T. Daniels <grammatim@...>
To: "ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org" <ANEemail@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2012 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Oldest writing system
Well, it looks like writing. Doesn't look much like "Proto-Elamite" (which has no necessary connection with the Elamite language; it just happens to have come from the land of Elam). No reason there shouldn't be lots of writing systems that we don't happen to know about. It says four small samples of this script are now known. Let them find more!
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
>________________________________[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> From: Doug Weller <dweller@...>
>To: Peter T. Daniels <ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org>
>Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2012 2:07 PM
>Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Oldest writing system
>Thanks to you and all who have responded.
>Where do these Jiroft tablets fit in?
>Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 5:24:03 PM, you wrote:
>> Replying to both Doug P. and Tom V.: please see interpolations below.
>> Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
>>> From: Tom Verenna <tsverenna@...>
>>>To: "ANEemail@example.com" <ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>Cc: "<ANEemail@example.com>" <ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 11:29 AM
>>>Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Oldest writing system
>>>Forgive my ignorance here, but wasn't the earliest writing system derived from counting tokens? Would we consider the counting system based in tokens itself to be a written language in a sense?
>> This is the theory of Denise Schmandt-Besserat, which was seized
>> upon by journalists but has not found much favor with archeologists
>> / writing systems specialists. A lesser included claim, that the
>> Sumerian numerical notation was influenced by tokens, is not
>> implausible, but the nature and distribution of the tokens do not
>> correspond well with her interpretations of them in relation to the
>> predecessors of cuneiform signs -- her data were re-analyzed by Paul
>> Zimansky in a review in Journal of Field Archaeology 20 (1993): 513-17.
>> As for the definition of writing, it has until very recently been
>> understood strictly as a graphic system that records _language_, not
>> just "ideas," and unless the system has a way of notating the sounds
>> of a language, so that things can be written that can't be pictured,
>> including grammatical affixes and proper names, then it isn't writing.
>> More recently, though, enthusiasts want to label as "writing" any
>> graphic communication system. But since we're going to need a term
>> for graphic communication systems that record language, we should
>> retain the traditional term "writing" for that, and use the newer
>> term "semiotic system" for _any_ system that communicates meaning, whether via language or not.
>>>Sent from my iPhone
>>>On Jan 4, 2012, at 10:11 AM, "Douglas Petrovich" <dp@...> wrote:
>>>> I think it is fair to say that the consensus is that the earliest writing system, dating to late in the Late Uruk period (subsequent to the Uruk Expansion) in its infancy, originates in Uruk, at the very time when this city mushrooms in its growth.
>> It's hard to dispute the Uruk origin of Mesopotamian cuneiform, but
>> its primacy as "world's first" has been challenged by the "tags"
>> from Abydos discovered by Dreyer in the 1990s that bear what appear
>> to be forerunners of Egyptian hieroglyphs and may be earlier than
>> the earliest Uruk materials (which aren't stratigraphically dated).
>> They seem to be too simple to fit a useful definition of writing,
>> but could well have provided the graphic shapes that later appeared on the Narmer palette.
>>>> As for whether this system has any universally recognized name, such as Sumerian, proto-Sumerian, or something different, I am not too sure. Perhaps someone else can provide this piece of the puzzle.
>>>> Doug Petrovich
>>>> Toronto, Canada
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