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Writing, visual representation of human language and other communication according to social convention. Early writing included marks used for counting and pictures representing situations and objects. Pictures developed into ideographs, symbolic representations of ideas rather than of speech. The more advanced and abstract logographs, which represent actual elements of speech, were first developed by the Sumerians c.3500 B.C. The Sumerians also began to develop phonetic representations, or syllabograms. While this cuneiform writing of the Sumerians spread through the Middle East, the Egyptians developed hieroglyphics. The complex Chinese system of writing developed c.1500 B.C. Further developments led to the Phoenician alphabet, representing consonants, the Greek alphabet, representing consonants and vowels, and the Japanese alphabet, representing consonant-vowel combinations.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Willamette River to Yaoundé