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Writing And Conceptual Change

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Chapter Summary

Writing is a relatively recent cultural invention that first appeared in the civilizations of the Fertile Crescent in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium. The necessity for record keeping and the relative stability brought by urbanization allowed the preserving of written records and development of the writing system. A cultural invention such as writing can engender conceptual change at the level of orthography and its related linguistic and cognitive discrimination. The orthographic representations of linguistic categories became organizing. The role of writing in cultural transmission and its importance in understanding the nature of texts such as MUL.APIN is clarified by developing a model of writing and conceptual change. The analysis of MUL.APIN is based on the few assumptions like, Canonical MUL.APIN that reflects the content and linguistic forms of the cuneiform astronomical tradition and of cultural transmission. Writing is a form of communication and biases mental representation toward logical form.

Keywords: conceptual change; Mesopotamia; MUL.APIN; orthography; Sumerian cuneiformwriting; writing system

10.1163/ej.9789004202306.i-223.17
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004202306.i-223.17
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