Alphabets and Writing - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Communication and Information

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This entry, in fact, this entire encyclopedia, would be a very different object if there were no alphabet. Although there are nonalphabetic writing systems and there are ways to communicate other than through writing, an alphabet is one of the most powerful tools for the easy expression of a diverse range of ideas.

An alphabet facilitates a print culture, one in which permanent records can be maintained and people can communicate with others across time and space. Even as people surf the World Wide Web for information in diverse media, they visit websites that are filled with displays of alphabetic characters. The source codes for these sites are even written in programming languages that rely on alphabets.

What exactly is an alphabet? How did the first ones arise? What was it like to communicate prior to the invention of the alphabet? What are the...

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This section contains 2,842 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Alphabets and Writing Encyclopedia Article
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Alphabets and Writing from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.