Top 10 writing factsHistory quiz
What is the most ancient written language?
Sumerian was spoken in southern Mesopotamia from at least the 4th millennium BC, and was gradually replaced by Akkadian as a spoken language around 2000 BC, though it continued to be used as a ceremonial, literary and scientific language until the 1st century AD. Even though it was later forgotten, today it is well understood thanks to the large amount of written sources left. Scientists know its grammar, vocabulary, and even its dialects and pronunciation.
Phoenician alphabet was the first to use ...
Symbols representing sounds . The names of the letters are acrophonic, and their names and shapes can be ultimately traced back to Egyptian Hieroglyphs. For example, the name of the first letter, 'aleph, means ox and developed from a picture of an ox's head. Some of the letter names were changed by the Phoenicians, including gimel, which meant camel in Phoenician, but was originally a picture of a throwing stick.
What was graphite believed to be a form of?
Lead. When large deposit of graphite was found in the 16th century in England, it was thought to be a form of lead. In many languages, the word for pencil literally means lead pen. (German Bleistift, Polish ołówek, Arabic قلم رصاص)
In which language family are word roots not themselves syllables or words, but instead are isolated sets of consonants?
Semitic. In Arabic, the root meaning "write" has the form k-t-b (كتب). From this root, words are formed by filling in the vowels, e.g. kitāb "book", kutub "books", kātib "writer", yaktubu "he writes" etc. Most scripts used to write Semitic omit some or all of the vowels, because the consonants are the primary carriers of meaning.
Where does the kanji writing system come from?
China. Kanji are adopted Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system, first introduced to Japan in the 5th century. Before the introduction of Chinese characters, no Japanese writing system existed. Kanji are used for writing nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. For grammatical endings and words without corresponding kanji, two additional, syllable based scripts are being used, hiragana and katakana.
Which punctuation marks are particularly variable across European languages?
Quotation marks. English ‘cat’ or “cat” is translated to French « chat » and German „katze“. Other countries typically use one of these styles. In many countries, English quotation marks are getting more and more popular due to widespread of English keyboards.
The handwriting on the photo shows this quipu. Who used it?
Incas. Objects that can be identified unambiguously as quipus first appear in the archaeological record in the first millennium AD. They subsequently played a key part in the administration of the Kingdom of Cusco and later Tawantinsuyu, the empire controlled by the Inca ethnic group, flourishing across the Andes from c. 1100 to 1532 AD. As the region was subsumed under the invading Spanish Empire, the use of the quipu faded from use, to be replaced by European writing and numeral systems.
What is the name of knotted strings that the Incas used for sending messages and keeping records, as an alternative to writing?
Quipu. A quipu usually consisted of cotton or camelid fiber strings. The Inca people used them for collecting data and keeping records, monitoring tax obligations, properly collecting census records, calendrical information, and for military organization.
An alphasyllabary writing system used mostly in India and Nepal is called...
Devanagari. The Devanagari script is used for over 120 languages, making it one of the most used and adopted writing systems in the world. Among the languages using it are: Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Pali and Sanskrit.
Louis Braille, the inventor of the alphabet for the blind, was ...?
Blinded in both eyes as a result of an accident. Louis Braille was a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains virtually unchanged to this day, and is known worldwide simply as braille. Blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, Braille mastered his disability while still a boy.