Ancient Sumerians record keepers
symbols in soft pieces of clay with a pointed reed. The clay tablets
were then baked to make them hard. We call the Sumerian's writing
system cuneiform. Cuneiform means wedged shaped, because the marks in
the clay were wedges.
The first pictographs were simple. A
writer would draw an object like a fish or a broom to communicate to
others. This system worked well in a simple society but it would be
difficult to describe justice or liberty in pictographs. Many Chinese
people continue to use a pictographic system today, but the government
the Pinyin system of phonetic writing.
Eventually, most cultures developed
phonetic writing systems where a symbol represents a sound rather than
an object. English speaking people, agree that the symbols D-O-G
refer to an animal. English, French, Spanish, German and Russian are
examples of phonetic languages. Phonetic languages make small
typewriters and computer keyboards possible. Imagine a different key
for every single word!