Evolution of the Alphabet



  1. If anyone knows the original creator, let me know so I can add them to the credit.

  • dumbi

    some more Eastern European additions (Romanian alphabet): Ă Â Î Ş Ţ

    • Martin Nick Smolík

      Slovak alphabet: á, ä, č, ď, dž, (also ch is a standalone “letter”) é, í, ľ, ň, ó, š, ť, ú, ý, ž
      In Czech there are also ě and ř

  • gatorallin

    From a technology viewpoint I think it is interesting that more than half of the 7,000+ languages ever to exist on Earth had no written form. You have to wonder if languages that were spoken only were less likely to pass on critical information, or were less likely to survive (or the info being shared was less likely to survive) and thus maybe that hurt the populations that relied on them long term (American Indians). ?

    • P

      Yes, what hurt native americans was the nature of their language. Lets say that.

      • gatorallin

        …well of course it was the white man that killed off all their buffalo and destroyed basically everything….(have a nice warm blanket with some smallpox) and then moved them off of their lands (trail of tears, etc)… and here have some gambling rights 200 years later.. that should fix everything. But what I was asking, was beyond the obvious genocide…. was a lack of a written language holding the American Indians back in any way from transferring info to the next generation faster/better that let them advance technology beyond some great rain dances to explain weather patterns and the fancy flying sharp sticks that worked so great against buffalo, but not as well against guns and stuff.. (Yeah, ok they got guns eventually)

        ..so if the indians had used a written language for many generations to pass on their knowledge, would they have been more likely to advance and thus less likely to get run over by the white man….?

        …or maybe from a different angle… but same basic questions…. How many african tribes have no written language and does that hold them back in any way over many generations from a technology standpoint that could likely eventually lead to that tribe or groups eventual demise from more advanced tribes/neighbors that used written languages? (this post is about the evolution of an alphabet and I think interesting to question the difference from spoken vs. written languages and then the basic idea of transferring info using language and thus the long term impact of written language, to eventually spell out your eventual demise). Anyhow, along with use of fire, walking upright and opposable thumbs and vocal cords to use a spoken language, it would seem a written language was a massive technology advancement and over many generations could prove the difference for why you lasted, or why some other group eventually moved in and took over. It seems written language is rare vs. spoken. It seems written language in the last 5 years here in USA has changed a bit thanks to technology with cell phones and texting and shorthand, etc. Will be interesting as the internet connects us all, to see if English remains a major language, or we merge in 100 years to Chinese, or Chinglish eventually.. lol-c. (that is laughing in English with chinese accent of course).

        • Chiel Wieringa

          Thanks for your thoughts on that subject! This gave me the following thought.

          Like you mentioned yourself, language tents to change. The subtle meaning of words change faster then books can keep up. Knowing this “flaw” (or maybe flow is a better word) in language could decide one to not develop a written language so that future misinterpretations of certain text could not happen. (misinterpretations which could start wars that are based on mere believes of certain interpretations of older texts)

          Then you have the danger of context. It could be that a document produced bye one of our think tanks is being looked at in the far future (perhaps a future after a great cataclysm which forced humanity to start over again). We decided that the content of that document was insane, but we just had to look at the possibility because we where facing a certain problem. Now if the first page of that document is missing which states that it is a hypothetical solution to certain problems we are facing the document could cause a lot of harm in that time.

          Putting knowledge of math/patterns in dances/buildings/statues/music would be a great alternative to pass along knowledge without the dangers of misinterpretation. That way certain knowledge only comes available to those ready to bear the responsibility that comes with it. If you can’t see the pattern you are not likely to misinterpret it. If you can see the pattern it is only useful if you understand it.

          That being said, written language does have certain advantages in passing along knowledge (if formulated correctly and placed in the right context). And I myself could not imagine a world without it, I love reading :).

  • DeeDee Massey

    For some strange reason, I found myself feeling a little oddly sorry for the obsolete letters which were left behind. I just don’t have the right words to express it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      is that just a euphemism for P & V?

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