Thelma Wood December 15, 2020 Alphabet Worksheet
Another important contribution of the Romans came in the fourth century AD when someone came up with the idea of cutting the scrolls that had been in use until then, into oblong strips and then sewing the strips together down one side to form the first books. The advantage of a book is the ability to easily access information without unrolling an entire scroll. Early cuneiform letters are combinations of straight lines. Later, circles and arcs were included as the means to draw them became available. The Etruscan alphabet had 20 letters. The earliest Roman (Latin) alphabet had 21 letters. By the end of the Roman era, the letter Y and Z from the Greek letters Upsilon and Zeta had been added for a total of 23 letters. Then in medieval times the letters J, U, and W were added to bring the total to the 26 letters of the modern alphabet.
Have you ever imagined what the world today would be if ancient people hadnt invented the alphabet? I dont dare to think about it but it must be such the worst of the worst. Without the alphabet, mankind would never have advanced to the levels we have today. If alphabet hadnt been invented, book would never have appeared and consequently people would be uneducated and life would be boring. You wouldnt know anything about history, the human knowledge wouldnt have been preserved and you also wouldnt be able to read my essay. We would be narrow minded and shallow. Our imagination would be limited. There would be no paper, no printing press, no television, no Galileo Galilei, no William Shakespeare, no Charles Darwin, no Albert Einstein,... Instead of that, tolerance would be low and the world would have been destroyed by war and cruel. In my opinion, it would be quite a miserable world where no one can read, write, or think freely. To be honest, if alphabet hadnt existed, there would be a new way of communicating ideas.
The Chinese still use this kind of writing in syllables. The trouble is that there are so many different syllables, it takes a scholar years to learn them all. In the Chinese language, there are more than fifty thousand and most of these are being used even today. A Chinese student does not master the writing of his language until he is beyond the age at which an American student may have graduated from college-say, twenty-five years old. In comparison with his thousands of characters, the American schoolboy has to learn only twenty-six letters. Therefore the next step in the development of the alphabet was to have a symbol, or letter, for each sound that was used in the language being spoken. There are many more sounds that a human being can use than we have in our alphabet, and the alphabets used for other languages have in them certain letters that we do not need in writing the English language. But also we have some letters that they do not need. No alphabet needs more than thirty or forty letters. A child can master these in a year or two. Writing with letters instead of with pictures is more than five thousand years old. Just as we got our alphabet from the Greeks, they got theirs from the Semitic peoples-the Phoenicians and the Jews and other ancient peoples who spoke Semitic languages.
Knowledge representation is achieved by growth of text. With respect to a symbol, text grows in two ways: internal growth and external growth. Through internal growth, a symbol becomes more complex. External growth is sequential combination of symbols into bigger linguistic units. Reading involves moving visual fixation from symbol to symbol. When a sequence of symbols is read, symbols next to the fixated are of interested. External growth of text is mainly in the forward direction as eyes strive to take them in. Competition exists between internal and external growths. When reading direction is same as larger visual span direction (horizontal), external growth is promoted. When reading direction is same as smaller visual span direction (vertical), internal growth is promoted.
Nowadays, alphabet is used all over the world. There are more than ¾ of the worlds languages use alphabet, and about 60% of the worlds population speaks languages that have a written alphabet. Its important to write and read in order for the human society to communicate and learn about history. Until the invention of writing, the only way humans had to communicate was face to face. This prevented information from being able to be shared with any sort of wide spread. Based on alphabet, people developed the writing system which could help to preserve human knowledge in a thing called "book". Thanks to book, people could read and know more about the world and shape up the education system like today. Therefore, book is one of the greatest worth treasure in the world. Alphabet also plays an important part to traders and merchants in keeping records of their business.
When symbols are arranged vertically, each symbol grows internally in accordance with the larger horizontal visual span then turns to next symbol. Conflict between text direction and stronger visual direction exists. Symbols are restricted into blocks, leading to logographic system. Top-down reading failed to lead to simplification of Chinese characters. On the contrary, characters were allowed to go more complex (Simple characters were also allowed to exist). The limit of complexity is constrained by recognizability during reading. Although characters failed to simplify, by utilizing horizontal visual span, one can maximize the amount of visual info-being-read while maintaining sufficient acuity. Although characters are read as units, internal detail is needed to recognize a character and distinguish between characters. Characters are composed of smaller structural units, such as strokes and radicals, which are not as standardized as alphabets do. There is also no standardized order of combining them since visual span goes to any direction inside a character frame. Not towards alphabet, Chinese characters did evolve into their modern form that facilitates reading. They are square-shaped with to-some-extent standardized components and rules for their formation.