The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood - Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 2 is called "The Persistence of the Word (There Is No Dictionary in the Mind)." Prior to the invention of writing and even for a long time after, there was no concept of "looking up" something as we might do in a dictionary or online. Language and the knowledge it described were contained in the mind until the technology of writing became widespread enough that language could be written down.

The earliest known method of writing language was the use of pictures to represent things. These pictures were stylized by the Chinese between 4,500 and 8,000 years ago into a collection of characters which could be combined to create new meanings. The next stage in writing was to use characters to represent phonetic sounds that approximated the spoken language. The last stage in the development of writing was the alphabet.

An alphabet is...

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