The World's Writing Systems meets the need for a definitive volume on the major historical and modern writing systems of the world. Comprising more than eighty articles contributed by expert scholars in the field, the work is organized in twelve units, each dealing with a particular group of writing systems defined historically, geographically, or conceptually. Each unit begins with an introductory article providing the social and cultural context in which the group of writing systems was created and developed. Articles on individual scripts detail the historical origin of the writing system in question, its structure (with tables showing the forms of the written symbols), and its relationship to the phonology of the corresponding spoken language.
Each writing system is illustrated by a passage of text, accompanied by a romanized version, a phonetic transcription, and a modern English translation. Each article concludes with a bibliography.Units are arranged according to the chronological development of writing systems and their historical relationship within geographical areas. First, there is a discussion of the earliest scripts of the ancient Near East. Subsequent units focus on the scripts of East Asia, the writing systems of Europe, Asia, and Africa that have descended from ancient West Semitic ("Phoenician"), and the scripts of South and Southeast Asia. Other units deal with the recent and ongoing process of decipherment of ancient writing systems; the adaptation of traditional scripts to new
languages; new scripts invented in modern times; and graphic systems for numerical, music, and movement notation. The result is a comprehensive resource of all of the major writing systems of the world.
Readership: Linguists, writing specialists.
Edited by Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles; Professor Adjoint of Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder
"This book fills a major gap in the list of standard works in linguistics" - Peter Swiggers, Orbis
"This is truly an impressive-looking tome, persuading one that it is complete and authoritative...not only a comprehensive treatment of a subject by an authority but a detailed description of the palce the section has in the general scheme of representing ideas by sqiggles on apage, rock, or tablet...essential addition to the library of anyone interested in or involved in any of the myriad aspects of language. both as a fascinating browsing book nad as an important reference work." - Verbatim
"each section contains a useful sample of writing accompanied by phonetic values, glosses and a translation, all of which provide a good background before one reads the relevent section...various sections present an almost overwhelming amount of material...this book is without an invaluable source for introducing the phonetic, linguistic and orthographical principles governing the writing on tablets, papyri, stones and bones that we see in museums and libraries around the world." - The Times Higher Education Supplement
"without question the most comprehensive work ever published on this subject" - Times Literary Supplement
"The very idea of this book is exciting. Imagine describing and illustrating nearly all writing systems in history in one volume! As the editors note, the development of computer-assisted publishing and typesetting made this wonder possible. The result is satisfying." - Chad Hansen, University of Hong Kong, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 56.1
"The very idea of this book is exciting. ... the development of computer-assisted publishing and typesetting made this wonder possible. The result is satisfying." - The Journal of Asian Studies, vol.56.1
"clearly the most comprehensive treatment of writing systems available. / Richard Sproat, Written Language and Literacy, Vol 1 (1), 1998"