Download Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World by John Man PDF

By John Man

Compliment for Alpha Beta
"This e-book comes on the ideal second as we rediscover the significance in early interpreting of cracking the alphabetic code. the tale of ways that code got here into being is an engaging one, and guy is the best author to inform it." occasions academic Supplement

"A richly soaking up exploration, from B.C. to computers, of the evolution of the main basic characters of our cultural historical past, the alphabet we lots take with no consideration. John guy writes with a compellingly stressed interest and immediacy. The ever miraculous, exotically precise narrative in his informative publication makes it as undryly relaxing as a winning archaelogical dig of 1 of Alan Moorehead s colourful histories of African exploration." David Grambs, writer of The Describer s Dictionary and The Endangered English Dictionary

"Text that's crisp, taut, and as transparent as a bell.... a desirable tale with many a beguiling subplot alongside the way." New Scientist

"Letter ideal the simplest histories and mysteries of our ABC s!" Jeff McQuain, writer of by no means sufficient phrases and tool Language

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We shall never know. It will take Pioneer 10 65,000 years just to get out of the Sun’s gravitational reach, and some 100,000 years to pass the nearest star, assuming it’s heading in that direction. The chances of it ever being found before it is shattered or eroded away by space debris is remote. In fact, more cynical minds point out that the intelligences to whom Sagan directed his message were right here on earth: members of Congress who provided the funding for further space projects, like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a line of research close to Sagan’s heart, and the general public who, as a result of the publicity generated, would bring pressure to loosen pursestrings.

But in other instances the same signs might retain their original Sumerian sounds inside Akkadian words. To follow through the German-English transliteration, the beeand oar-symbols would now become the first two syllables of beorder (to order or summon). After centuries of social and literary evolution, Akkadian became the lingua franca of the Mesopotamian world, adopted and modified by neighbouring cultures. The two unrelated languages, with their single writing system, endured side by side, with Akkadian the language of administration and Sumerian the language of ancient < previous page page_43 next page > < previous page page_44 next page > Page 44 literature.

Sagan’s plaque, like computer icons, may speak in a hyper- < previous page page_27 next page > < previous page page_28 next page > Page 28 language provided by the universe. Athanasius Kircher might have considered himself vindicated: you see, Nature does speak! It certainly looks like communication. We shall never know. It will take Pioneer 10 65,000 years just to get out of the Sun’s gravitational reach, and some 100,000 years to pass the nearest star, assuming it’s heading in that direction.

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