The symbolic representation of language by graphic signs or symbols. Writing originated in multiple places, including mesopotamia, china, and various. Logographic writing: symbols represent morphemes or words, oldest type of writing. Sumerian before it evolved into phonographic writing: present in all writing systems. Phonographic writing: symbols represent syllables or sounds. occurred once pictures began to be read as words: syllabic writing. well-suited for languages with simple cv and cvc syllabic structures: ex. alphabets ignore non-phonemic phenomena (i. e. consonant aspiration, vowel nasalization: ex. Pictures are precursors of written word, but not writing per se: earliest pictographic writing in sumeria around 5000 years ago. No presentation of linguistic element (i. e. segments, syllables, morphemes, or word order) Ex. present-day symbols on bathrooms, highways: independent of specific language. Egyptian hieroglyphic for water meaning fresh, cool; sumerian logogram for foot meaning to go: sumerian combined logogram of a head on fire meant anger. One symbol with one pronunciation but multiple meanings.