Sometimes the term "alphabet" is restricted to systems with separate letters for consonants and vowels, such as the Latin alphabet , although abugidas and abjads may also be accepted as alphabets.
Because of this use, Greek is often considered to be the first alphabet. A featural script notates the building blocks of the phonemes that make up a language. For instance, all sounds pronounced with the lips "labial" sounds may have some element in common. In the Latin alphabet, this is accidentally the case with the letters "b" and "p"; however, labial "m" is completely dissimilar, and the similar-looking "q" and "d" are not labial.
In Korean hangul , however, all four labial consonants are based on the same basic element, but in practice, Korean is learned by children as an ordinary alphabet, and the featural elements tend to pass unnoticed. Another featural script is SignWriting , the most popular writing system for many sign languages , where the shapes and movements of the hands and face are represented iconically. Featural scripts are also common in fictional or invented systems, such as J. Historians draw a sharp distinction between prehistory and history, with history defined by the advent of writing.
The cave paintings and petroglyphs of prehistoric peoples can be considered precursors of writing, but they are not considered true writing because they did not represent language directly. Writing systems develop and change based on the needs of the people who use them.
Sometimes the shape, orientation, and meaning of individual signs changes over time. By tracing the development of a script, it is possible to learn about the needs of the people who used the script as well as how the script changed over time. The many tools and writing materials used throughout history include stone tablets , clay tablets , bamboo slats, papyrus , wax tablets , vellum , parchment , paper , copperplate , styluses , quills , ink brushes , pencils , pens , and many styles of lithography.
The Incas used knotted cords known as quipu or khipu for keeping records. The typewriter and various forms of word processors have subsequently become widespread writing tools, and various studies have compared the ways in which writers have framed the experience of writing with such tools as compared with the pen or pencil. By definition, the modern practice of history begins with written records.
Evidence of human culture without writing is the realm of prehistory. While neolithic writing is a current research topic, conventional history assumes that the writing process first evolved from economic necessity in the ancient Near East.
Writing most likely began as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures, which needed reliable means for transmitting information, maintaining financial accounts, keeping historical records, and similar activities. Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration outgrew the power of memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form. Archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat determined the link between previously uncategorized clay "tokens", the oldest of which have been found in the Zagros region of Iran, and the first known writing, Mesopotamian cuneiform.
Later they began placing these tokens inside large, hollow clay containers bulla, or globular envelopes which were then sealed. The quantity of tokens in each container came to be expressed by impressing, on the container's surface, one picture for each instance of the token inside.
They next dispensed with the tokens, relying solely on symbols for the tokens, drawn on clay surfaces. To avoid making a picture for each instance of the same object for example: In this way the Sumerians added "a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols". The original Mesopotamian writing system believed to be the world's oldest was derived around BC from this method of keeping accounts.
By the end of the 4th millennium BC,  the Mesopotamians were using a triangular-shaped stylus pressed into soft clay to record numbers.
This system was gradually augmented with using a sharp stylus to indicate what was being counted by means of pictographs. Round-stylus and sharp-stylus writing was gradually replaced by writing using a wedge-shaped stylus hence the term cuneiform , at first only for logograms , but by the 29th century BC also for phonetic elements.
Around BC, cuneiform began to represent syllables of spoken Sumerian. About that time, Mesopotamian cuneiform became a general purpose writing system for logograms, syllables, and numbers.
Scripts similar in appearance to this writing system include those for Ugaritic and Old Persian. The last cuneiform scripts in Akkadian discovered thus far date from the 1st century AD. Over the centuries, three distinct Elamite scripts developed. Proto-Elamite is the oldest known writing system from Iran. In use only for a brief time c. The Proto-Elamite script is thought to have developed from early cuneiform proto-cuneiform.
The Proto-Elamite script consists of more than 1, signs and is thought to be partly logographic. Linear Elamite is a writing system attested in a few monumental inscriptions in Iran.
It was used for a very brief period during the last quarter of the 3rd millennium BC. It is often claimed that Linear Elamite is a syllabic writing system derived from Proto-Elamite, although this cannot be proven since Linear-Elamite has not been deciphered. Several scholars have attempted to decipher the script, most notably Walther Hinz and Piero Meriggi.
The Elamite cuneiform script was used from about to BC, and was adapted from the Akkadian cuneiform. The Elamite cuneiform script consisted of about symbols, far fewer than most other cuneiform scripts. Linear B , the writing system of the Mycenaean Greeks ,  has been deciphered while Linear A has yet to be deciphered.
The sequence and the geographical spread of the three overlapping, but distinct writing systems can be summarized as follows: The earliest surviving examples of writing in China—inscriptions on so-called " oracle bones ", tortoise plastrons and ox scapulae used for divination—date from around BC in the late Shang dynasty.
A small number of bronze inscriptions from the same period have also survived. In , archaeologists reported discoveries of isolated tortoise-shell carvings dating back to the 7th millennium BC, but whether or not these symbols are related to the characters of the later oracle-bone script is disputed. The earliest known hieroglyphic inscriptions are the Narmer Palette , dating to c. The hieroglyphic script was logographic with phonetic adjuncts that included an effective alphabet.
Writing was very important in maintaining the Egyptian empire, and literacy was concentrated among an educated elite of scribes. Only people from certain backgrounds were allowed to train to become scribes, in the service of temple, pharaonic, and military authorities. The hieroglyph system was always difficult to learn, but in later centuries was purposely made even more so, as this preserved the scribes' status.
The world's oldest known alphabet appears to have been developed by Canaanite turquoise miners in the Sinai desert around the midth century BC. How do you define good writing? Here's a list of some of the things I think about: What would be your examples of good writing?
BTW, I wasn't really sure what folder this topic belonged under. Such an interesting question! First of all, well-written requires good sentence construction. Now that will be a surprise to those here who know me.
Vocabulary and a variety of sentence structure makes a book just that more interesting. In addition to sentence construction, must come imagery. Character development is a requirement for me to consider a book well-written. I'm sure there must be an exception to that, but right this minute I can't think of one. I am not opposed to plot, but neither is it necessary. I might read a plot-driven novel for brain candy, but it's extremely unlikely that I will describe it as well-written on that feature alone.
This is such an interesting topic! I think that all of the things you have said are very important, particularly language and character. I think that the best indicator of good writing is if it touches us in some way.
We might relate to something an author has written or we might be able to completely put ourselves in the shoes of the hero or heroine: But perhaps we are only able to be touched when a writer has done all the things you have said developed a character well, organized the plot well etc.
Beth -- I disagree with you on your last point. I don't think that a writer has to develop a character well, organize the plot, or write good sentences to touch us. I've been very touched on a strong emotional level by people that were not good writers. I think that is a function of how much you relate to what the author is writing about. For instance, if you've suffered post-partum depression, and an author writes on that topic, then you might be able to completely relate and be very moved.
For me, I would absolutely appreciate the effect the writer has, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "good writing". But hey, maybe you and others think what's the point of good sentences if it doesn't emotionally move me? I think my main factors would be sentence structure, word use, and plot structure. Scenes should have a purpose, whether it is to advance the plot or develop the character. The language should create imagery and mood without bogging down the story. What a great question, Tera!
And what good answers! For me, good quality writing is exhibited when the author employs a creative use of vocabulary and puntuation, creates well-developed and multi-dimensional characters, moves the plot along in such a way as to create a flow that easily draws the reader in, is very intelligent and logical I don't like to be able to think of alternate explanations for scenarios that haven't been accounted for by the author , and offers a hint of the author's personality, like writing in a way that expresses humour subtley sp?
That is a basic requirement. I read some books and think how did this person ever become an author? If you can't form sentences together than you shouldn't be writing. Good writing is how the author tells the story and having creativity. I am not a good writer. I am a good storyteller. May 20, Good writing versus good story. I think popular fiction, for the most part, is just a good story. Dear Elizabeth in Alaska You have excellent taste in writers! I have four novels published in print and one in ebooks, so I know a little about writing.
I used to think excellent writing was all about grammar, but some great writers are bad grammaticians. Now I think great writing is a book or story that makes us laugh or cry, that somehow changes the way we think, and maybe even the way we love. In short, it changes our lives. Such a novel is one I just finished. Its written by a man, a surgeon, but with a woman's sensitivity and delicacy. I recommend it to every reader on this earth. A great novel about love and loss and searching, betrayal and the fragility of the human body and its mind.
Everyone who has read it falls into each other's arms, saying "What about that scene, and this scene, and how many times did you cry? And did it change the meaning of love for you? I think I shall have to read it all over again. But you will not want it to end! May 21, What a great discussion! And Kiana, you don't have to convince us! Chicks did Cutting for Stone as a group read last July. Most faculty will agree that a paper's structure and development-the way its conception is advanced from assertion through argumentation and details to conclusion-are critical to its success.
Good writing at this level often depends upon the writer's willingness to outline, to cut and paste, to discard. In principle, students should complete these are activities well before they begin a final draft, but even good students are often loathe to carry them out.
Good writing must also show an effective style. Here we recognize, however, an element of subjectivity in evaluation, as well as a difference in the styles commended by various disciplines.
Although many faculty may have difficulty characterizing the style of a specific piece of writing as appropriate or inappropriate, they will generally agree that an effective style conveys ideas and information precisely, concisely and in a manner appropriate to the context of a particular paper or report.
An effectively styled essay generates interest and even emphasis through its choice of diction; it demonstrates the ability to use punctuation rhetorically-for effect as well as clarity.
English introduces students to the qualities of effective writing, as outlined above. But when students move into various academic disciplines, they often find that what a professor means by effective organizational strategy or appropriate style is differs from what they learned in English For example, a business student might be surprised to learn that she is expected to begin the opening paragraph of a case study with a precise and succinct statement of the bottom line, and that supporting detail which her English teacher suggested was crucial may even be relegated to an appendix.
Students of the natural sciences may discover that a given organizational plan abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion is preferred by a journal, even though the organizational strategies they learned for freshman English papers were virtually limitless.
To take a final example, English teaches students to favor the active voice over the passive; this stylistic preference serves students of the humanities well enough, but the chemistry student who prefers the active voice in his lab report may be asked to revise. Different writing styles are demanded by various academic courses and disciplines.
But if we look more closely at the elements of the act of writing, the definition comes to life. The following paragraphs might prompt your thinking about how writing happens for your students and for you.
Good writing uses just the right words to say just the right things. Sentence Fluency that is smooth and expressive. Fluent sentences are easy to understand and fun to read with expression.
Jul 20, · Good writing such a difficult concept to define it's kinda like pornography, "you know it when you see it". Funny thing, one person's pornography is another person's art(ie, statue of justice covered by John Ashcroft in ). Defining good writing is almost as difficult as defining pornography. One is tempted to paraphrase Justice Stewart and say, "I can't define it, but I know it when I read it.".
Good writing starts with the knowledge that the writer is him or herself confident about what they have written, whatever the topic or genre. You are drawn in within the first line, paragraph, or page. Good academic writing, no matter the discipline, field, or genre, is characterized by: Starting with Good Ideas. Writers should first be concerned with their ideas and translating these ideas into readable prose for their intended audience. Citation helps to define a specific context of knowledge or problem to which the current work is a.