Category Archives: Logograms

Linear Elamite — ~2200 BC?, Iran

Linear Elamite — also called “Old Elamite” — was the outgrowth of proto-Elamite in modern-day Iran. We tend to think of languages as either “deciphered” or “undeciphered”, but Linear Elamite is currently partially deciphered and likely to stay that way … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 1 "Dull, only here for completeness", Syllabaries | 2 Comments

Proto-Elamite — 3000BC?, Iran

Proto-writing happened over an extensive area over thousands of years.  While proto-writing developed into “proto-cuneiform” in modern-day Iraq and from there into Sumerian cuneiform, it developed into proto-Elamite in Iran (and from there into Elamite).  We don’t hear much about … Continue reading

Posted in developed by illiterate(s), Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Undeciphered | 1 Comment

Aztec — 1400 AD, Mexico

There are no pre-Columbian Aztec books remaining: the colonists managed to get every last one.  However, there are a few books written by Aztecs left from the period after the Spaniards occupied the land, with translations/explanations written in Spanish. The … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | 4 Comments

Mixtec — 1200 AD, Mexico

The Mixtec writing system is from Southern Mexico, very close to the Mayan civilization in distance and contemporaneous.  The Spaniards only did half as good a job destroying the Mixtecs books — there are a whopping eight pre-Columbian Mixtec books … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | 2 Comments

Maya — 250 BC, Guatemala

Maya script is a very rich and complicated script, and the colonizing Spaniards did an outstanding job of eradicating it.  For example, they managed to destroy all but four books written in Maya script. Fortunately, many carved examples of Mayan … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", Syllabaries | Leave a comment

Epi-Olmec — 900BC? ~450 BC?, Mexico

How many independently-developed writing systems have there been?  One hundred years ago, educated people would have told you without hesitation, “three: Sumerian or Egyptian in the Middle East, Chinese in China, and Mayan in Central America”.  Very well-educated people would … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries, Undeciphered | Leave a comment

Indus script — 2600 BC, Pakistan

Like the Sumerians and the Egyptians, the Harappans inhabited a fertile river valley (this one in Pakistan) in around 3300 BC.  Like in the Middle East, the Harappans developed a sophisticated civilization.  Like in the Middle East, the Harappans put … Continue reading

Posted in first in its area, Logograms, probably developed by illiterate(s), Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting", Undeciphered | 3 Comments

Simplified Chinese — 1956 AD, China

In 1956, the People’s Republic of China promoted a simplified writing scheme, with the goal of improving literacy. Currently, Simplified Chinese is used in the PRC (except for Hong Kong), Malaysia, and Singapore; Traditional Chinese is used everywhere else.  The … Continue reading

Posted in government-mandated, Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 2 Comments

Traditional Chinese — 220 AD, China

Traditional Chinese — also called “Regular Chinese” or “kǎishū”, appeared around 200 BC. There were numerous evolutionary stages between Small Seal and Traditional Chinese, including a looser, more calligraphic style called “Clerical Script”. At this stage, some of the stylistic … Continue reading

Posted in Evolved slowly from parent, Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", technology influenced | 18 Comments

Chinese Seal Scripts — ~800BC, China

After the Oracle Bones script, there was a long period where the script changed slowly and not totally uniformly across China.  These scripts are sort of all called “Large Seal” or “Great Seal” or “Bronze Script”. Eventually, in around 220BC, … Continue reading

Posted in Evolved slowly from parent, government-mandated, Logograms, now ceremonial, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting" | 1 Comment