The Development of Writing and Preliterate Societies
Tung, Cynthia. “The Development of Writing and Preliterate Societies”. BA, Boston College, 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107209.
This paper explores the question of script choice for a preliterate society deciding to write their language down for the first time through an exposition on types of writing systems and a brief history of a few writing systems throughout the world. Societies sometimes invented new scripts, sometimes adapted existing ones, and other times used a combination of both these techniques. Based on the covered scripts ranging from Mesopotamia to Asia to Europe to the Americas, I identify factors that influence the script decision including neighboring scripts, access to technology, and the circumstances of their introduction to writing. Much of the world uses the Roman alphabet and I present the argument that almost all preliterate societies beginning to write will choose to use a version of the Roman alphabet. However, the alphabet does not fit all languages equally well, and the paper closes out with an investigation into some of these inadequacies and how languages might resolve these issues.