Category Archives: Logograms

Idu — 1390? AD, Korea

As in Japan, Koreans first started writing with Chinese script, but Chinese script didn’t work well to write Korean for similar reasons that it didn’t work well for Japanese.  (Japanese and Korean are syntactically very similar.) One thing the Koreans … Continue reading

Posted in Evolved slowly from parent, Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries | 3 Comments

Kanji — 600? AD, Japan

Kanji — the Japanese adaption of Chinese script — was the first script used to write Japanese.  Kanji is very very similar to Chinese script, but unsurprisingly, the two scripts have diverged over the course of fourteen hundred years (or … Continue reading

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Jurchen Scripts — 1119 AD and 1138 AD, Northeast China

The Khitan (AKA Liao) Empire was in charge in Manchuria (northeastern China) for a while, and the local Jurchen people used the Khitan script and Chinese script for their writing.  They rebelled and overthrew their Khitan overlords in 1115, and … Continue reading

Posted in inventor known, Logograms, National pride, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", Syllabaries | 1 Comment

Khitan scripts — 920 AD and 925 AD, Mongolia

Emperor Taizu of the Khitan (AKA Liao) people introduced a script in 920 AD for his nomadic Mongolian nation. They had been using Chinese script, but the Chinese script was  a poor fit for the Khitan language.  Spoken Khitan had … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, inventor known, language unknown, Logograms, previous script didn't quite work, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", Syllabaries, Undeciphered | 1 Comment

Demotic — 650 BC, Egypt

Demotic was significant in the history of language understanding, as it was one of the three scripts on the Rosetta Stone (along with Greek script and Egyptian hieroglyphics).  However, it is really only a font difference from hieratic (or hieroglyphics). … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Evolved slowly from parent, government-mandated, Logograms, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting" | 2 Comments

Shorthands — <300 BC, Greece?

Shorthands — forms of writing that sacrifices accuracy and/or shared orthography for speed — are very old.  The earliest example of shorthand comes from Greece, and was sort of an inverse abugida: the vowels were primary, and consonants were noted … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Abugida, Alphabet, inventor known, Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | 3 Comments

Luwian hieroglyphics — 1400 BC, Turkey

Luwian hieroglyphics — also called Anatolian hieroglyphics or (incorrectly) Hittite hieroglyphics — do not seem to be stylistically related to any other language, so it is likely this writing system was invented by the Luwians, although they pretty certainly knew … Continue reading

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Linear B — 1400BC?, Greece

Ancient Crete had not one but three writing systems at roughly the same time: the Cretan hieroglyphics, Linear A, and Linear B.  Linear A and the Cretan hieroglyphics have not been deciphered, but Linear B has. Linear B has about … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 3 "I did not know that", Syllabaries | 1 Comment

Hittite — 1700 BC?, Turkey

In around 1700BC, the Hittites adapted Assyrian cuneiform (which was basically just Akkadian cuneiform which had been around long enough to evolve slightly) to their language.  They only took about half of the symbols from Assyrian cuneiform, of which roughly … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting", Syllabaries, technology influenced | 2 Comments

Elamite cuneiform — 2200 BC, Iran

Linear Elamite petered out after a few hundred years, ignored in favour of more prestigious languages/writing systems like Babylonian (which was an organic descendant of Akkadian in both language and script).  When the Elamite language reappeared after a few hundred … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", Syllabaries, technology influenced | 1 Comment