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November 30, 2012

History of the Alphabet. - Hieroglyphs And Letters

The Khan Academy is a great way to learn about almost everything.

One of my favorite aspects of the Khan academy is that every class, on every conceivable topic is...

...free.

There is an overwhelming set of choices,especially in the math and science areas, but today I want to focus on just one aspect of language you can delve into.

Ever wonder why written languages look so different from each other?

Take a look at this segment on the history of the alphabet. This video introduces the Hieroglyphic, Cuneiform, Hieratic, Demotic & Phoenician writing systems. This basically just means the characters, symbols and letters of our - and everyone else's recorded language.

You can check it out here - http://www.khanacademy.org/math/applied-math/info-theory/v/history-of-the-alphabet--language-of-coins--3-9.

If you want to experiment with the earliest, most ancient portable writing - on papyrus - you can make or buy some here - http://www.kingtutshop.com/rawstrips/rawstrips.htm.

And if you want to get a little background on some familiar words and where they came from, take a look at this website. Words, like each one of us, have some very strange stories to tell. Word origins here - http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/big_list/.

I confess to being an unrepentant word nerd, and I love the many possibilities and contradictions in a language as flexible and fluid as English - especially the always-unpredictable American version.

Send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

Posted by mmorf at November 30, 2012 08:19 PM

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