Portal:Writing

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Introduction

Medieval writing desk.jpg

Writing may refer to two activities: the inscribing of characters on a medium, with the intention of forming words and other lingual constructs that represent language and record information, or the creation of information to be conveyed through written language. (There are some exceptions; for example, the use of a typewriter to record information is generally called typing, rather than writing.) Writing refers to both activities equally, and often both activities occur simultaneously; however one may write while doing only one of the activities.

Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols (known as a writing system). Writing may use abstract characters that represent phonetic elements of speech, as in Indo-European languages, or it may use simplified representations of objects or concepts, as in east-Asian and ancient Egyptian pictographic writing forms. However, it is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.

Writing is a distinctly human activity in which text is created on a medium such as a tablet or vellum in the form of signs, symbols or letters. These characters then go together to form words and larger texts which convey meaning and information.

The art of writing, known as calligraphy, has played a huge part in cultures around the world and is still enjoyed by many people today.

Selected article

Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system or system of rules for such practice.

From a linguistic point of view, transliteration is a mapping from one system of writing into another, word by word. Transliteration attempts to be exact, so that an informed reader should be able to reconstruct the original spelling of unknown transliterated words. To achieve this objective transliteration may define complex conventions for dealing with letters in a source script which do not correspond with letters in a goal script.

Transliteration is opposed to transcription, which specifically maps the sounds of one language to the best matching script of another language. Still, most systems of transliteration map the letters of the source script to letters pronounced similarly in the goal script, for some specific pair of source and goal language.


Selected picture

Braille Writer 2.jpg
Credit: Michal Maňas (User:snek01)

A braille writer. The braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.

Selected biography

Denise Schmandt-Besserat.jpg
Denise Schmandt-Besserat (born August 10, 1933) is a French-American archaeologist and retired professor of art and archaeology of the ancient Near East.

Schmandt-Besserat has worked on the origin of writing and counting, and the nature of information management systems in oral societies. Her publications on these subjects include:

  • Before Writing (2 vols), University of Texas Press 1992;
  • How Writing Came About, University of Texas Press 1996;
  • The History of Counting, Morrow Jr. 1999;
  • When Writing Met Art (University of Texas Press, 2007); and
  • numerous articles in major scholarly and popular journals among them Science, Scientific American, Archaeology, American Journal of Archaeology, and Archaeology Odyssey.

Her work has been widely reported in the public media (Scientific American, Time, Life, New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor.) She was featured in several television programs such as Out of the Past (Discovery Channel), Discover (Disney Channel); The Nature of Things (CBC), Search for Solutions (PBS), and Tell the Truth (NBC).

In her most recent book, When Writing Met Art (2007), Schmandt-Besserat investigated the impact of literacy on visual art. She showed that, before writing, art of the ancient Near East mostly consisted of repetitive motifs. But, after writing, conventions of the Mesopotamian script, such as the semantic use of form, size, order and placement of signs on a tablet was applied to images resulting in complex visual narratives. She also shows how, reciprocally, art played a crucial role in the evolution of writing from a mere accounting system to literature when funerary and votive inscriptions started to be featured on art monuments.


Did you know...

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...that screenwriter Richard Baer's writing credits for television included twenty-three episodes of Bewitched and five episodes of The Munsters?
Other "Did you know" facts...

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WritingCalligraphyPenmanshipWriting implementsInksAlphabetic writing systemsAbjadAbugidaKanjiLogographic writing systemsAlphabetic writing systemsWriting systemsCyrillic alphabetsHellenic scriptsScript typefaces

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