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Author Topic: aboriginals and writing  (Read 1641 times)

Offline annie123

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aboriginals and writing
« on: 10/07/2010 02:06:49 »
CAN't find anywhere appropriate to post this so hope someone on this thread can suggest - why is it that some indigenous people like north american indians and australian aborigines never evolved a writing system and only conducted their lives/retained histories etc orally? If they had created a system perhaps they would not have remained behind other civilisations in terms of technology. ?


 

Offline graham.d

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aboriginals and writing
« Reply #1 on: 12/07/2010 11:03:35 »
I think it is fair to say that writing is a fairly recent invention (perhaps only in the last 5000 years) in the history of mankind. It was clearly an advantage (culturally and militarily)to societies that developed it but it probably came out of necessity to convey more information to future generations more efficiently than by oral means. This would certainly have involve some pressure to do so because of the effort needed to learn writing. By far the majority of individual cultures, as defined by the number of different langauages, did not develop writing and in hunter-gatherer societies there was probably little need. I suspect with the development of agriculture the need for technical information and knowledge became more importent, although it may also have been also for conveying ritual and law as societies became larger and more complex as much as anything. As the saying does "necessity is the mother of invention".

So I would conclude that it is not exactly as a result of not having writing that they had not got technology, but that the two developments go hand in hand in response to pressures within a society, both internal and external. If those pressures are not there the cost of learning writing probably exceeds the advantages, certainly in the short term, and it is more importent to respond to the pressures of survival in the environmemt they are in. Most aboriginal peoples are actually very good at that aspect and the rest of us would struggle to survive.

 

Offline annie123

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aboriginals and writing
« Reply #2 on: 13/07/2010 01:32:34 »
Thanks for the reply but i still wonder why peoples like the Maya, in the same continent and possibly within geagraphical reach of others in the same land mass would have developed such an intricate writing system, while other native Americans didn't. I am not positing this with any valuation attached regarding talents or intelligence as your comment about their being better at survival than we might be suggests.
 

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aboriginals and writing
« Reply #2 on: 13/07/2010 01:32:34 »

 

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