This chapter argues that the fourth major kinographic operation in the ancient world finally occurred when the graphisms created by tablets and the phonisms of speech entered into a mutual subordination to an abstract meaning or idea. In other words, once graphism was liberated from its concrete tokens, it could create abstract signs for anything, including the discrete sounds made in human speech called phonemes. The practice of connecting written graphisms to speech first emerged in Sumer around 3500–3390 BCE with the use of cuneiform, a written means of representing the Sumerian language. Egyptian hieroglyphics connected to language emerged around 3300 BCE. The earliest alphabet is traced to proto-Sinaitic inscriptions (c. 1850 BCE).
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.