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Communication, Culture and Technology
Rhonda Mc Ewen

THE ORIGINS OF WRITINGS Writing - Is greatest invention in human history - Foreign script is usually incomprehensible - Pioneering writers of 4000-5000 years ago learn to write The Function of Writing - Pros  Person that can read & write has greater opportunity for fulfillment than one who is illiterate - Cons  To spread the writing that is present throughout its history  Used to tell the truth and as well as the truth - Political leaders have always used writing for propaganda purposes  4000 years  the famous black basalt law code of Hammurabi of Babylon from the slogans and billboards of 1990s Iraq, the message is similar  Hammurabi called himself “mighty King, King of Babylon, King of the whole country ofAmurru, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Quarters of the World”  He promised that if his laws were obeyed, then all his people would benefit  Babylonian andAssyrian cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Mayan glyphs of Central America, carved on place and temple walls  Used much Stalin used posters about Lenin in the Soviet Union to remind the people who was the boss, how great were his triumphs, how firmly based in the most high was his authority - Death  Adaption of Greek alphabet -> handed over to the Romans -> gave to rest of the Europe - Future  Writing it allowed them to codify their worries - Maya  Bark-paper books painted in color and bound in jaguar skin  Prognostications were based on a written calendrical system so sophisticated it extended as far back as 5 billion years ago - China  BronzeAge Shang dynasty  Question about the future were written on turtle shells and ox bones “oracle bones” - Seals  Indus Valley civilization, which flourished around 2000 B.C.  Exquisitely carved depicting other motifs, a mysterious unicorn- the symbols written on them are undeciphered  Writing does not appear on walls as public inscriptions  Found scattered around the houses and streets of capital city  Worn on a cord or thing and used as a personal “signature”  To indicate a person’s office or the social or professional group to which he or she belonged - Accountancy  More common than seals or tags  Sumerian clay tablet from Mesopotamia The Origins of Writing - Accountancy  Writing began with accountancy  Little in evidence of ancient Egypt, China, and CentralAmerica  Mesopotamia reached a point at which it outstripped the power of memory of the governing elite  Administrators and merchants could then say the Sumerian equivalents of “I shall put in writing” and “Can I have this in writing?”  First written symbols were pictograms  Writing was a result of Uruk (biblical Erech) in about 3300 B.C.  People believe it was a work of clever administrators and merchants and other think it was an invention but a discovery  Regarded as an evolution over time rather flash of inspiration The Development of Writing - Writing developed independently in the major civilization of the ancient world - Anti-imperialist will prefer to emphasize the intelligence and inventiveness of human societies  The pessimist, who takes a more conservative view of history, will tend to assume that humans prefer to copy what already exists  Greeks borrowed the alphabet from the Phoenicians and adding the vowels not expressed in the script  Romans borrowing Etruscan script, Japanese taking Chinese characters and the Turks abandoning theArabic script for the Latin script Script, Speech, and Language - Differs apart from the outward forms of the symbols, of course is phonetic to semantic signs - English proportion is high, in Chinese it is low - English spelling represents English speech sound by sound - Chinese characters represent Mandarin speech - Finnish represents better than either of them and is highly efficient phonetically - Japanese and Chinese is phonetically deficient AN UNACKNOWLEDGED REVOLUTION Late Fifteenth Century - Indebted to Gutenberg’s invention; print enters their work from start to finish, from consulting card files to reading page proofs - Volume by Febvre and Martin  Covers the first three countries  Published in a French series devoted to “evolution of humanity”  “five hundred years” - Printing  History of printing is an integral part of the general history in civilization  Studies dealing with the history of printing are isolated and artificially sealed off from the rest of historical literature  The effects produced by printing have aroused little controversy, not because of views on the topic coincide, but because of almost none has been set forth in an explicit and systematic form  Methods of book production changed after the mid-15th century  Estimate rates of increased output  Decide how greater abundance or variety of written records affect the ways of learning, thinking, and perceiving among elites  Decide how laws, languages, or mental constructs were affected by more uniform texts - Learning  Reliance was placed upon oral transmission even by literate elites  Copying scriptoria and literary compositions were “published” by being read aloud  “Book” learning was governed by reliance on the spoken word -> producing a hybrid half-oral, half-literate culture that has no precise counterpart today - Incunabula  Estimated time (1450s and 1500s)  Average early edition ranged between 200 and 1000 copies HBS: iPads, Kindles, and the Close of a Chapter in Book Publishing Pursuing EBooks - Apple released iPod which has games, navigating the internet and eBooks - Authors feel assaulted that it was books on tape, books on phones, andAmazon’s kindle - The Random House response to the kindle  Should the company pursue a policy of confrontation or cooperation withAmazon?  As the largest publisher in the world, should Random House take a stand on eBooks pricing and royalty fees?  If the entire structure of the book publishing industry is charging, what role will Random House play in the future? What about the customer? - Publisher worried the prices, would undercut print books - Biggest sources of friction - EBooks are less going for sale, compared to the physical book - Power struggle between publishers andAmazon Surprise Ending? - Bigger problems than how much to cha
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