Online Encyclopedia

WRITING

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 439 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WRITING deals, chiefly from the anthropological standpoint, with primitive attempts to record ideas in an intelligible form, e.g. with " knot-signs," " message-sticks," picture-writing and the like. PHONETICS covers the whole subject of speech sounds and pronunciation, the organs of speech and national sound systems. Supplementary, from another-point of view, to the article ALPHABET is a complete series of articles on the letters of the English alphabet. In these articles the history of the individual letters is traced from the Phoenician through Aramaic, Greek and Roman to modern times. All these articles may be read in connexion with a comparative table in the article ALPHABET (ad fin.), which shows in parallel columns the earliest equivalents of the modern English letters, i.e. Brahmi, Kharosthi, oldest 'Ethiopic, SabHan, Nashki, Tema,-Sindjirli, the Moabite stone, Phoenician, Greek, Latin, Cyrillic and Glagolitic. Another important comparative table of written signs is contained in the article SLAVS, showing the various Cyrillic, Glagolitic and Latin letters used by the Slav peoples. Passing from articles dealing with the method and general subject-matter of philology, the student will find articles on the great families of languages, each with its subordinate articles on special languages and dialects. r. Indo-European Languages.—Of articles on language-families, the most important is that under the heading INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES. This great division, which is dealt with from the comparative standpoint in the second part of the article PHILOLOGY, is under its own heading treated in detail. The article begins with a sub-classification into two main groups—the so-called (A) centum and (B) satem groups—each of which is further divided into four sections. In accordance with this classification there are separate articles on the individual ancient and modern languages and dialects. A. (1) GREEK LANGUAGE (supplemented by sections under HOMER, DORIANS, &C.); (2) LATIN LANGUAGE (with OSCA LINGUA, IGUVIUM, &c., and articles on the Italic tribes and places, e.g. VENETI, CAERE); (3)Celtic, s.v. CELT (with subsidiary articles); and (4) Teutonic, S.D. TEUTONIC LANGUAGES, SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGES, and the like. The modern descendants of these languages are all further treated separately. Thus following LATIN LANGUAGE iS the article ROMANCE LANGUAGES, which traces the development of the Latin tongue during its gradual differentiation into Italian, French, Spanish, Rumanian, &c.; while a more detailed account of these will be found under ITALIAN LANGUAGE; FRENCH LANGUAGE; SPAIN: Language; RUMANIA: Language. There is also a special article PROVENCAL LANGUAGE, dealing with the Romanic speech of southern France. The Teutonic languages are similarly dealt with in detail under ENGLISH LANGUAGE (including Anglo-Saxon); DUTCH LANGUAGE; GERMAN LANGUAGE. SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGE itself includes Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish. a B. In the satem group of the Indo-European family the four divisions are as follows: (I) Indo-Iranian or Aryan. This division may be sub-divided into (a) Indo-Iranian, treated mainly in the article PERSIA: Language and Literature (including Zend, Old, Middle and New Persian, and the modern dialects), and (b) Indian. The Indian languages ,are discussed primarily under INDOARYAN LANGUAGES, which describes the relations of Pisaca, Sanskrit, Prakrit, and gives a paradigm of the various languages of.the three great divisions of India. This central article refers to the separate articles PISACA, SANSKRIT and PRAKRIT, which in turn are supplemented by a number of articles on particular languages. Of these reference may be made to BENGALI; BIHARI; GUJARATI AND RAJASTHANI; HINDOSTANI; KASHMIRI; MARATHI; PALI. The gipsy languages, which may probably be assigned to the Indo-Iranian division, are described under Gums. (2) The account of Armenian will be found under ARMENIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE. (3) The, Balto-Slavonic Languages. Of these the three comprised in the Baltic group, viz. Lithuanian, Lettic and Old Prussian, are described under the heading LITHUANIANS AND LETTS. For the Slavonic group, the chief article is SLAVS: Language, which deals with the elements common to all the Slavonic tongues, with their early history and differentiation. It contains a comparative table of alphabets. It is supplemented by an article OLD SLAVONIC, and by further information under the headings RUSSIA, BULGARIA, SERVIA, POLAND, BOHEMIA, CROATIA-SLAVONIA, SLOVAKS, SLOVENES, SORBS, KASHUBES, POLABS. (4) The Albanian dialects are treated under ALBANIA. 2. Semitic Languages.—At the heading of this section stands the article SEMITIC LANGUAGES, supplemented by HEBREW LANGUAGE, ARAMAIC LANGUAGES, and linguistic sections under PHOENICIA, ETHIOPIA, and the like. 3. Hamitic Languages.—The central article in this family is HAMITIC LANGUAGES, which is supplemented, so far as the Cushitic or Ethiopian group is concerned, by further information in the articles EGYPT; ETHIOPIA; ABYSSINIA; SOMALILAND; and, so far as the Libyan group is concerned, by the articles BERBERS and KABYLES. 4. The chief feature of the Monosyllabic family is the section Language under CHINA, supplemented again by similar sections in articles on other countries of south-eastern Asia, and by the article TIBETO-BURMAN LANGUAGES. There is also a language section under Japan which discusses the affinities between Chinese, Korean and Japanese. 5. The Ural-Altaic family is described in outline in the article URAL-ALTAIC, which gives the general relationships of Turkish, Finno-Ugrian, Mongol and Manchu, and of minor sub-divisions such as Syryenian, Mordvinian and Votyak. Turkish is discussed in the article TURKS: Language, which deals with Osmanli proper and the Tatar-Turkish languages generally. The article FINNO-UGRIAN is a comparative survey dealing with the language of the Finns, Lapps, Samoyedes, &c.; while Magyar is treated separately in HUNGARY: Language. Under MONGOLS there is a special section Language, discussing the three groups of East Mongol, West Mongol (including Kalmuck) and Buriat. 6. The principal languages of southern India, e.g. Tamil, Malayalam, Kanarese, Telugu, &c., are dealt with generally under the heading DRAVIDIAN; while there is a separate article TAMILS, containing a section on their language; and brief notes under the headings BRAHUI, TELUGU, MALAYALAM, &c. y and 8. The scattered languages of the Malay-Polynesian family and other Oceanic peoples are treated principally in the article MALAYS, which further information is given under the headings POLYNESIA; SAMOA; JAVA; NEGRITOS, BATTAS, &C. q. The Caucasian family is described chiefly in the article GEORGIA: Ethnology. Further information will be found in CAUCASIA: Ethnology. to. Of the remaining European languages only two need special. mention: Basque, which is treated in a special section under the heading BASQUES; and the lost Etruscan, which is treated under ETRURIA and LATIN LANGUAGE. Ir. The principal languages of southern and central Africa are treated fully under BANTU LANGUAGES. There is a brief account of the Bushman language under BUSHMEN, and of the Hottentot languages under HOTTENTOTS. 12. Intermediate African Languages.—Among the numerous languages spoken by the people of the great central belt of the African continent, the most important is the Hausa, described under that heading. 13. America.—The whole question of the languages of the North American Indians is dealt with in the article INDIANS, NORTH AMERICAN, which contains an elaborate linguistic paradigm. Bibliographical information will be found in practically all the above headings. In addition to the most modern authorities there quoted, there will be found in the article DICTIONARY a very full list of older lexicographical works. The above summary does not purport to present dogmatically a rigid philological classification. It disregards many problems, and is intended solely to enable the student readily to find the material of which he may be in search.
End of Article: WRITING
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