Question 1: What were the strengths and weaknesses of the clay token system?
What is its significance to human communication?
The system was simple
• clay was easy to use and requires little to no skill
• forms of tokens were plain and easily duplicated
• one to one correspondence
• tokens stood for units of goods- could be meaningful in any dialect
The code allowed new performances in data processing and communication.
• first mnemonic device able to handle and store unlimited quantity of data
• it brought more flexibility in manipulation of information by making it possible to
add, subtract and correct data at will
• it enhanced logic and rational decision-making by allowing the scrutiny of
• code was also timely
• fulfilled new needs for counting and accounting for agriculture
• The volume of tokens constituted a major short coming
• tokens would be easily manipulated
• tokens were easily misplaced out of order
Significance of human communication
• The system was spread out all through the near east
• everyone knew what it was
• it was easy to communicate that way.
Question 2: Explain the fundamental relationship between the birth of writing and
mathematics (Logan 45).
Although both the systems of writing are independent, they are brought together from
impressed token logograms
o They found out the concept of forming together 26 letters to make every word,
allowed them to use 10 digits with mathematical symbols to come up with every number.
o The Greeks also didn’t believe in the number “0”, they thought the idea of having
“nothing” was unrealistic and made no sense.
o Allowed for the creation of non real numbers (ex. Decimals)
o Also allowed for the invention of the numerical order (ex. 1, 2, 3) • Writing and mathematical notation were used to store the verbal or mathematical
words of spoken language.
Question 3: Discuss the origins of writing.
There are many theories of how writing originated. The majority of scholars now accept
that writing began with accountancy. The early cities of Mesopotamia reached a point
where memory was no longer an option to govern a city; they needed something to record
transactions in a dependable and permanent form.
It is thought that the first written symbols would have been pictograms. Although,
some scholars believe that writing was the result of a conscious search by an unknown
Sumerian individual. Others believe it was the work of a group, most likely a clever
group of merchants. Yet others think it was not an invention at all, but an accidental
discovery. Some regard it as the result of an evolution over a long period, rather than a
flash of inspiration. But one very popular theory is that writing grew out the clay “token”
system as a substitute of two-dimensional signs.
Question 4: Why is the experience of sound so important for understanding
communication in an oral culture?
It is important because an oral culture has no knowledge of writing or even the
possibility of writing; hence the culture is heavily dependent on sound for
communication. Sound determines the modes of expression and thought processes
because cultures are restricted from writing.
Sound enters deeply into human beings feel for existence because word has n