The Idea of Writing

Writing Across Borders


The Idea of Writing is an exploration of the versatility of writing systems. This volume, the second in a series, is specifically concerned with the problems and possibilities of adapting a writing system to another language. Writing is studied as it is used across linguistic and cultural borders from ancient Egyptian, Cuneiform and Korean writing to Japanese, Kharosthi and Near Eastern scripts. This collection of articles aims to highlight the complexity of writing systems rather than to provide a first introduction. The different academic traditions in which these writing systems have been studied use linguistic, socio-historical and philological approaches that give complementary insights of the complex phenomena.

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Alex de Voogt, Ph.D. (1995) in Psychology, Leiden University, is an Assistant Curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. His studies on writing systems and the dispersal of board games focus on the Indian Ocean region.

Joachim Friedrich Quack, Ph.D. (1993) in Egyptology, University of Tübingen, Habilitation (2003) in Egyptology, Free University of Berlin, is Professor of Egyptology at Heidelberg University. He is a leading specialist for Egyptian cursive writing systems.

Contributors include Hans-Jörg Döhla, Theo Krispijn, Reinhard Lehmann, Sven Osterkamp, Konstantin Pozdniakov, Joachim Friedrich Quack, Ingo Strauch, Aldo Tollini, Thorsten Traulsen and Alex de Voogt.

1. Invention and Borrowing in the Development and Dispersal of Writing Systems
Alex de Voogt
2. 27–30–22–26 – How Many Letters Needs an Alphabet? The Case of Semitic
Reinhard G. Lehmann
3. Nubian Grafffijiti Messages and the History of Writing in the Sudanese Nile Basin
Alex de Voogt & Hans-Jörg Döhla
4. About “Short” Names of Letters
Konstantin Pozdniakov
5. Early Adaptations of the Korean Script to Render Foreign Languages
Sven Osterkamp
6. Han’gŭl Reform Movement in the Twentieth Century: Roman Pressure on Korean Writing
Thorsten Traulsen
7. The Character of the Indian Kharoṣṭhī Script and the “Sanskrit Revolution”: A Writing System Between Identity and
Ingo Strauch
8. Symmetry and Asymmetry, Chinese Writing in Japan: The Case of Kojiki (712)
Aldo Tollini
9. Writing Semitic with Cuneiform Script. The Interaction of Sumerian and Akkadian Orthography in the Second Half of
the Third Millennium BC
Theo J.H. Krispijn
10. Old Wine in New Wineskins? How to Write Classical Egyptian Rituals in More Modern Writing Systems
Joachim Quack

Subject Index
Language (Group) and Script Index
Author Index
All those interested in the history of writing systems, cultural contact in antiquity, Assyriology, Egyptology, Indology, Japanology and Korean, Nubian and Near Eastern studies as well as classical philology, linguistics and socio-linguistics.