''Story or History of writing'/Part:04

Writing is considered as the physical manifestation of a spoken language and without the primary basis of this writing there will be no communication, history, record keeping, and art. Generally the history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other marks /signs and also the study and description of these developments. It is generally agreed that true writing of language (not only numbers,which began long before the writing of language, for the purpose of record keeping) was independently conceived and developed first in ancient Sumer (in Mesopotamia) around 3100 BC. Independent writing systems also arose in Egypt around 3000 BC or there after ,In Indus valley or Harappa [the Indus script of the Bronze Age in Ancient India] around 2600 BC, in China around 1200 BC,and Mesoamerica [Mayans] by 300 BC.

Athivirarama Pandiyan [15th century],who ruled over a small territory wrote Naruntokai, like Avvaiyar's  Athisoodi, gave importance for writing and says:"Supreme is the one who declared  [or taught] writing"/"எழுத்தறி வித்தவ னிறைவ னாகும்".Also from Tamil sangam poems ,spanning from c. 700 BCE to 300 CE, we can come to know that writing existed in Tamil country even before Christ. For example:

"like writings on the memorial  stones of the dead, murdered by wasteland bandits whose arrows shot from their bow never miss their targets."/"விழுத்தொடை மறவர் வில்லிடத் தொலைந்தோர் எழுத்துடை நடுகல்"  [ஐங்குறுநூறு /Ainkurunuru  352] ,

"In the land where you are going, there are memorial stones with names etched for"/"செல்லும் தேஎத்து பெயர் மருங்கு அறிமார் ,கல் எறிந்து எழுதிய நல் அரை மராஅத்த" [மலைபடுகடாம் /Malaipadukadam  394,395] ,

"sharpen arrows and erode the sides of fierce, ancient memorial stones with names whose letters are not read by those who travel on the path,"/"மருங்குல் நுணுகிய பேஎம் முதிர் நடுகல்,பெயர் பயம் படரத் தோன்று குயில் எழுத்து, இயைபுடன் நோக்கல் செல்லாது" [அகநானூறு /Akananuru  297]

Scholars make a reasonable distinction between prehistory and history of early writing, but have disagreed concerning when prehistory becomes history and when proto-writing became "true writing". Writing, in its most general terms, is a method of recording information and is composed of graphemes [individual letters and groups of letters that represent single phonemes,the speech sounds made by the mouth], which may in turn be composed of glyphs.The invention of writing was not a one-time event, but a gradual process initiated by the appearance of symbols, possibly first for cultic purposes. Example of the Jiahu symbols, writing-like markings, found on tortoise shells were dated around 6000 BCE and Clay amulet, one of the Tartaria Tablets, dated to ca. 5300 BCE are attached. However,Before we start "Theories of the Origins of Writing", I would like to start with the basic questions: 

• When was writing invented?
• Where was writing invented?
• Why was writing invented? 
• How was writing invented?  

                                                                             [Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part:05 will follow 


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