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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Chapter Summary & Analysis - Chapter 12 "Blueprints and Borrowed Letters" Summary

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Chapter 12 "Blueprints and Borrowed Letters" Summary and Analysis

If knowledge brings power, then writing increases that power. Diamond argues "writing marched together with weapons, microbes, and centralized political organization as a modern agent of conquest" (pg. 215-6). For example, writings about one expedition inspired others and the accounts helped explorers and soldiers to know what to expect. Writing made all of this information more easily accessible, more detailed, and more accurate than oral traditions.

There are three basic strategies for writing systems. The one employed by most people today is the alphabet, where a unique sign is given for each basic sound of language. The second strategy is logograms, in which one written sign stands for a whole word. Finally, the last strategy employs a sign for each syllable and was more commonly used in ancient times.

Writing developed independently in at least...

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This section contains 555 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Study Guide
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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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