Tag «linguistics»

How Egypt invented the alphabet – History of Writing Systems #7 (Abjad)

How Egypt invented the alphabet – History of Writing Systems #7 (Abjad)

How did Egyptian hieroglyphs give birth to the alphabet? Even in these ancient times, Egyptian monuments have been sitting and weathering for thousands of years. On their great murals and pillars, you find rows of little pictures. Sorry, not pictures. Hieroglyphs. Sacred symbols. But, despite appearances, this isn’t some mysterious Pharaonic picture writing. It’s consonants. …

The true story of ‘true’ – Gina Cooke

The true story of ‘true’ – Gina Cooke

Everyone knows that stories are made up of words, from short poems to epic novels. But did you know that a single word itself can tell an entire story? You see, just as we can look at a story’s plot, setting, and characters, we can also study the history of an individual word, where it …

What “Ancient” Chinese Sounded Like – and how we know

What “Ancient” Chinese Sounded Like – and how we know

China has a long linguistic tradition. Did you know Chinese scholars were digging into old pronunciations centuries before Europeans were reconstructing proto-languages? This is the tale of how they uncovered their ancient imperial language. I struggle with Chinese pronunciation. I have ever since the dictionary and cassettes my Grandad once gave me for my birthday. …

Why Do We Have Middle Names?

Why Do We Have Middle Names?

Most of us can understand the utility of having a first name: since it prevents us from calling everyone we meet “hey you!” And in many naming customs, surnames are a way to tie us to our family members and express our direct lineage. But why do we have middle names? Do they have any …

History of English (combined)

History of English (combined)

The History of English in ten minutes. Chapter One: Anglo-Saxon or whatever happened to The Jutes? The English Language begins with the phrase ‘Up yours, Caesar’, as the Romans leave Britain and a lot of Germanic tribes start flooding in. Tribes such as the Angles and the Saxons, who together gave us the term Anglo-Saxon …

Thoth’s Pill – an Animated History of Writing

Thoth’s Pill – an Animated History of Writing

Writing. Reading. Typing. Texting. Written language is just one of those things that’s always been around. It’s a natural way for you to use words. It’s a given. But there’s something you’ve forgotten. It’s understandable. After all, it’s been a very long time. A long time since no one on the planet knew how to …