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first_imgWriting was invented only once. In fact, writing systems, though structurally similar, were invented “several times in human history,” he said. One example: Mesoamerican systems, like Aztec and Mayan, evolved independent of the Old World.Clay tokens, used in early accounting, were the medium of the earliest writing. No, said Zender. Clay tokens, pictographs, and rebus (pictures used to communicate sounds) play a role in writing systems, but are not writing’s precursors. Pictures, for one, are not always efficient messengers of meaning, he said. His illustration: Signage on a modern restroom hand dryer — with its wavy heat lines — could mean, “Push button. Receive bacon.”Alphabets evolved slowly from earlier pictographic and rebus systems. Not true, he said. Writing developed in rapid periodic episodes of “borrowing and adaption.” Said Zender, “The scope and origins of script origins and script decay are highly variable and unpredictable.”Most writing systems evolved in response to a need for administrative systems. In fact, said Zender, writing systems may have originated more as a means “to write personal names.”Despite the myths, humans through the millennia evolved “strikingly similar ways of recording sound and meaning,” said Zender. How could this be?One possible answer still has to be explored by linguists and neuroscientists, he said. There may be innate features of the human brain that underlie a cognitive rationale for the similarity of writing systems.Another answer may be simply that the earliest written records were meant to be “administrative and utilitarian,” said Zender. That would account for writing’s free mix of numerals, words, and names signifying ownership.Names are an apparent universal leitmotif in the development of writing systems. Zender showed a picture of one ornate polychrome vase from eighth century Mesoamerica. Ornate symbols along the top have a simple meaning: “It is the drinking cup for chocolate of K’ahk’ Tiliw Chan Chahk.”A Vimose bone comb from Denmark, circa A.D. 150, is decorated by a scrawl that reads, “Harry’s comb.”Medieval runic name tags, salvaged from a Norwegian archaeological dig and designed to be tied to goods, are a metaphor for property rights. One reads, “Erik owns this.”“Language is uniquely human,” said Zender, wrapping up his talk, and part of that is “signaling group and individual identity.”Writing may have been invented to do the same thing. To say, in effect: “I am here. We are here.”Future talks in the Visible Language series will look at the development of Chinese writing (Oct. 6), cuneiform script (Oct. 13), Egyptian hieroglyphs (Nov. 18), and the early history of the alphabet (Dec. 2).The lectures begin at 5:30 p.m. Most are in the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St. For more information. “Visible Language,” a semester-long lecture series sponsored by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, will probe the origins and development of writing. Experts will look at the earliest writing systems — from China, Egypt, and Europe to those of the Mediterranean area, Mesoamerica, and Mesopotamia.Going back that far yields an immediate surprise, said linguistic anthropologist Marc Zender, who opened the series Sept. 16 at the Geological Lecture Hall. Writing was “independently invented several times in human history,” he said, and yet it was invented “in strikingly similar ways.”In every system, specific signs are used to communicate sounds, words, and ideas, said Zender, a Harvard anthropology lecturer and Peabody research associate who specializes in deciphering Aztec and Mayan. All writing systems, he said, show a “diverse oneness.”The phrase comes from “Visible Speech: The Diverse Oneness of Writing Systems,” an influential 1989 book by American linguist John DeFrancis. It was one of many books outlined in Zender’s talk, which provided a sort of reading list for the series. Among them were “Writing Without Words” (1994), “Mother of Writing” (1990), “The First Writing” (2004), and “The Disappearance of Writing Systems” (2008).Regardless of its culturally diverse origins, writing everywhere, said Zender, “arrests and channels the otherwise ephemeral spoken word.”Though writing “arrests” something as mundane as speech, ancient peoples regarded it as a medium of the divine, he said. One of his slides showed Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian god who was credited with inventing writing. Another depicted Maya scribes, the “supernatural, angelic beings,” said Zender, whose writing was considered an act of divine creation.But today, writing is everywhere, part of every culture, and almost anyone can do it. Yet it remains, said Zender, “the single most important vehicle of cultural transmission between generations,” a way for one age to talk to another.“Writing,” he said, “allows our words to outlive us.”Zender reached back 6,000 years and more to humankind’s earliest writing systems. But he also took the time to dispel some contemporary myths:Some writing systems operate independent of sounds. Not true. All writing is related to language and its phonetic signs, said Zender, who quoted linguist Archibald A. Hill: “All writing represents speech.”last_img read more

first_imgJun 2, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Chinese health authorities have called off emergency measures for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), saying the latest outbreak is under control, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.Beijing officials said yesterday they were closing down their SARS prevention headquarters and canceling other emergency control measures, Xinhua reported. Officials took the action after all seven patients in the city were discharged from a hospital and their contacts were released from quarantine, the report said.Also yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Public Health suspended its daily surveillance reports on SARS, Xinhua said. The surveillance program required local health authorities nationwide to provide a daily SARS report even if no cases were found.Beijing’s SARS prevention headquarters was set up Apr 22, when the city reported its first case this year, according to Xinhua.The recent outbreak included seven SARS cases in Beijing and two in Anhui province in east-central China. Most of the cases were traced to a 26-year-old woman who contracted the virus while working in a laboratory at the National Institute of Virology in Beijing in March. A 31-year-old man who worked in the same lab also became infected. The mother of the 26-year-old woman died of SARS Apr 19; the other eight patients all recovered.Chinese and World Health Organization (WHO) officials inspected the virology lab in May but were unable to determine exactly how the two researchers had acquired the virus there. Neither of them had worked with live SARS virus, officials said.last_img read more

first_imgInter Milan are delaying offering Emiliano Viviano a contract. Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte lashed out at questions surrounding Alexis Sanchez’s fitness The experienced goalkeeper is in Milan and training at a local gym as he waits news from Inter. Gazzetta dello Sport says a final decision won’t be made until after the Coppa Italia tie with Napoli.Advertisement Loading… A new medical for Samir Handanovic is also scheduled, where a definitive date for his return from a finger fracture will be set. Read Also:La Liga: Bale returns as Real Madrid come from behind to beat Osasuna Free agent Viviano expects to have an answer from Inter before the squad leaves for Rome on Saturday. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

first_imgRelatedPosts Italy introduces compulsory virus testing for travellers from France Nigeria records new COVID-19 infections, more deaths as figures rise to 57,242 Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua’s promoter has hinted that the world champion’s next title defence may not be staged behind closed doors despite the coronavirus crisis.Eddie Hearn is considering moving Joshua’s next fight against Kubrat Pulev, which was originally scheduled for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20. The London bout has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic and Hearn would be willing to move it to the Middle East if an audience is allowed there.Joshua beat Andy Ruiz to take the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia in December.Hearn has already suggested he might stage the clash between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin in an empty venue, but the financial implications of doing the same with Joshua make it unworkable.“We’re not going to go to AJ and say, mate, there’s £10 million less in the pot – we’ve got to get creative,” Hearn told Boxing Social on Wednesday.“These countries are going to be up and running a lot quicker than our country or America. “Would Saudi (Arabia) or Dubai or Abu Dhabi be ready to stage an event in September or October? I think 100 per cent.“If you can’t get a live gate for the bigger fights we have to look elsewhere and that involves looking at other territories.“Do I really want AJ to box behind closed doors? No. With what he has produced in terms of that live audience, I will be doing everything I can do make sure AJ doesn’t fight behind closed doors.”The British Boxing Board of Control has issued a series of rules for the sport’s prospective domestic return in July, including all shows taking place without fans, and trainers and officials wearing face-masks.Hearn said he broadly accepted the guidelines, which they insist are not necessarily binding, but called it “a very conservative starting-point”. Tags: Anthony JoshuaCoronavirusEddie HearnTottenhan Hotspur Stadiumlast_img read more