How Writing

Was (Probably)

Invented

A really long time ago, in ancient Egypt, they used a special kind of alphabet called hieroglyphs. Its letters didn't look like the ones you know – they were more like emojis. Each sign had one meaning. A house, for instance, meant somebody's house. This alphabet was very hard to learn – even a simple letter required knowing THOUSANDS of letters! That's why only the old, wise men in Egypt could read and write. Then, a wise man called Noam, a cave digger, appeared. The Egyptians' strange alphabet gave him a brilliant idea: instead of having only one meaning for each letter, why not just use the sound of that letter? The letter B, for example, wouldn't just mean Book, but the general sound of B. The rest is history…

 

Try guessing what's behind
each letter

Want to remember all of the letters?

Print out this memory game that we made especially for you, and start playing!

 
 

Original idea: Grotesca Design
Art direction and text: Eitam Tubul 
Web design: Nir Ben David
Illustrations and font design: Ofri Gil
Scientific consultation: Dr. David Gurevich 

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Sources

 

  • Otiot VeMoftim (3 parts) on HaMa'abada podcast by KAN, 2019.

  • Was "Nam rb nqbn" Among the Inventors of the Alphabet? Orly Goldwasser, in: Eretz Israel 32. 2016.