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Introduction

Medieval writing desk.jpg

Writing is a neuropsychological activity involving cognitive and physical processes and the use of writing systems to structure and translate human thoughts into persistent representations of human language. A system of writing relies on many of the same semantic structures as the language it represents, such as lexicon and syntax, with the added dependency of a system of symbols representing that language's phonology and morphology. Nevertheless, written language may take on characteristics distinctive from any available in spoken language.

The outcome of this activity, also called "writing," and sometimes a " text," is a series of physically inscribed, mechanically transferred, or digitally represented linguistic symbols. The interpreter or activator of a text is called a "reader".

Writing systems do not themselves constitute languages (with the debatable exception of computer languages); they are a means of rendering language into a form that can be reconstructed by other humans separated by time and/or space. While not all languages use a writing system, those that do can complement and extend capacities of spoken language by creating durable forms of language that can be transmitted across space (e.g. written correspondence) and stored over time (e.g. libraries or other public records). Writing can also have knowledge-transforming effects, since it allows humans to externalize their thinking in forms that are easier to reflect on, elaborate, reconsider, and revise. ( Full article...)

Selected article

Mi Fu-On Calligraphy.jpg
Pictured left: Chinese calligraphy written by Song Dynasty (A.D. 1051-1108) poet Mi Fu.

Calligraphy (from Greek κάλλος kallos "beauty" + γραφή graphẽ "writing") is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering (Mediavilla 1996: 17). A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner" (Mediavilla 1996: 18). The story of writing is one of aesthetic evolution framed within the technical skills, transmission speed(s) and material limitations of a person, time and place (Diringer 1968: 441). A style of writing is described as a script, hand or alphabet (Fraser and Kwiatkowski 2006; Johnston 1909: Plate 6).

Modern calligraphy ranges from functional hand//-lettered inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not compromise the legibility of the letters (Mediavilla 1996). Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid and spontaneous, at the moment of writing (Pott 2006 and 2005; Zapf 2007 and 2006).

Calligraphy continues to flourish in the forms of wedding and event invitations, font design/ typography, original hand-lettered logo design, religious art, announcements/ graphic design/commissioned calligraphic art, cut stone inscriptions and memorial documents. It is also used for props and moving images for film and television, testimonials, birth and death certificates, maps, and other works involving writing (see for example Letter Arts Review; Propfe 2005; Geddes and Dion 2004). Some of the finest works of modern calligraphy are charters and letters patent issued by monarchs and officers of state in various countries. ( Full article...)

Selected picture

An Ottoman Empire era ijazah written in Arabic certifying competence in calligraphy, 1206  AH / 1791  AD

Selected biography

Andrew Robinson, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.jpg
W. Andrew Robinson (born 1957) is a British author [1] [2] and former newspaper editor. [3]

Andrew Robinson was educated at the Dragon School, Eton College where he was a King's Scholar, University College, Oxford where he read Chemistry and finally the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He is the son of Neville Robinson, an Oxford physicist. He is based in London and is currently a full-time writer.

Robinson has written several books about the history of writing, including:

  • The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs and Pictograms. Thames and Hudson (2000). ISBN  0-500-28156-4. [4]
  • Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Great Undeciphered Scripts. McGraw-Hill (2002). ISBN  0-07-135743-2. [5] [6]
  • Writing and Script. Oxford University Press (2009). ISBN  9780199567782. [3] [7] [8] ( Full article...)

Did you know...

Hangul.png
... that the Korean alphabet  Hangul was promulgated by the Korean king Sejong the Great after being developed under his guidance by a team of researchers? It is the rare example of a writing system that is thoroughly planned after scientific points of view.
Other "Did you know" facts...

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WritingCalligraphyPenmanshipWriting implementsInksAlphabetic writing systemsAbjadAbugidaKanjiLogographic writing systemsWriting systemsCyrillic alphabetsHellenic scriptsScript typefaces

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