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Ch 2: Early History of Human Language

About This Chapter

This chapter makes it easy to study the early history of human language any time that works well for you. Use the self-paced and mobile-friendly lessons, quizzes and printable transcripts included in this chapter to study for a test or get help with a homework assignment.

Early History of Human Language - Chapter Summary

Topics related to the early history of human language are clearly outlined in the lessons we've provided in this informative chapter. These include the invention of writing, Egyptian hieroglyphs and the development of written language in Ancient China, among other topics. The chapter is available 24 hours a day on any smartphone, tablet or computer. Help from an expert is just a few clicks away in the Dashboard if you have any questions along the way. Once you complete this chapter, you should be ready to:

  • Explain when human language first appeared
  • Outline the invention of writing
  • Detail the history of the alphabet from Cuneiform to Greek writing
  • Identify the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Discuss the development of written language in Ancient China
  • Describe the evolution of language in ancient civilizations
  • Define the impact and development of the Greek and Arabic languages
  • Explain the rise of the vernacular and the decline of Latin

9 Lessons in Chapter 2: Early History of Human Language
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
When Did Human Language First Appear?

1. When Did Human Language First Appear?

This lesson addresses the question of when human language first appeared. We discuss the archaeological evidence for the minimum age while comparing various theories for the maximum possible age.

The Invention of Writing

2. The Invention of Writing

Writing, the original IT: This lecture covers the limitations and obstacles of aural transmission. It describes the invention of Cuneiform in the fertile crescent. Finally, it explains how writing enabled literate societies to dominate their pre-literate neighbors.

History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing

3. History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing

This lecture follows the development of writing, from the pictographs of proto-cuneiform to the symbolic phonemes of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. Then from the abjads of the Phoenecians, Minoans, Hebrews and Arabs to the complete alphabets of the Greeks. It explores the limitations and strengths of each development and draws modern parallels.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Definition, Meaning & Symbols

4. Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Definition, Meaning & Symbols

The Egyptian language, written in hieroglyphs, is fascinating. In this lesson we'll learn about the history and evolution of the language, about the writing system and how it works, and when and how the language was deciphered.

Development of Written Language in Ancient China

5. Development of Written Language in Ancient China

Writing is an integral part of Chinese civilization, so where did it come from? In this lesson, we'll look at the surprising origins of writing in Chinese history.

The Evolution of Language in Ancient Civilizations

6. The Evolution of Language in Ancient Civilizations

The changes that languages undergo over the course of a period of time give historians incredible hints as to what actually happened. Watch this lesson to learn how a hated empire was loved for the language it introduced, and another empire decided to adopt the language of the people it had just conquered.

The Development & Impact of the Greek Language

7. The Development & Impact of the Greek Language

Greek has been an influential language throughout Western history, so it's history is pretty important to all of us. In this lesson, we'll see where Greek came from and how it became so important.

The Development & Impact of the Arabic Language

8. The Development & Impact of the Arabic Language

Arabic is one of the dominant languages of the world today, spoken by millions of people. In this lesson, we'll explore the history of this language and see how it has impacted the world.

The Rise of the Vernacular and the Decline of Latin

9. The Rise of the Vernacular and the Decline of Latin

This lesson explains how Latin was widespread in Europe during the Roman Empire as well as how vernacular languages slowly replaced it. It also reviews how the Romance languages developed.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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