Language and Creativity

“Were the Chinese and Egyptians more creative than the Phoenicians and Assyrians?” I pondered over this question. Which is more creative a language with 300,000 distinct characters, or a score or two of alphabetical letters?
I figured out that they both must be equally creative to come out with the idea to write down the language they speak. How else could they record events and issued that mattered to them?
However, in the case of the Chinese it must have been a popular effort that led to the creation of their characters. While in Phoenician it must have been an elitist group that brought about such an invention, most likely priests to lay down religious rules. Anyway, so the popular effort of Chinese scholars created a writing system that for a very long time was a privilege for the elites, and what the elites created for their own use, was easily usable by the people, strange ah?
I wanted to check out my assumption about Chinese characters and the way they came into existence, there was no answer as the origin is not clear, although one myth suggests that a Chinese bureaucrat was entrusted in creating such a system 4,500 years ago. However, my surprise was not at this piece of information but rather at the fact that the Wkipedia article tried to explain the morphology of loanwords in Chinese using one particular example, 以色列, Israel. How on earth did they get there?

No comments: