Communication NEW

Essay by MetalroidJunior High, 8th grade September 2002

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Early humans had no written language so we are not really sure how they talked to each other. They may have used signs, or imitated made by animals and birds. These simple sounds may have been the beginnings of language.

Written Records

From the earliest times, people needed to keep records. About 5,000 years ago, when ancient people wanted to write something down, they drew a simple picture.

Cuneiform Writing

The Sumerians made wedge-shaped marks in a tablet of soft clay. This was later baked in the Sun.


Priests in ancient Egypt drew simple pictures to represent words. They wrote on papyrus, a paper made from flattened reeds that grew on the banks of the Nile.


Later on, letters and symbols instead of pictures were used for each different sound in a word. All these different letters made up an alphabet.

Books and Printing

As early as the 7th century, the Chinese carved word pictures onto blocks of wood.

They spread ink on the raised parts, pressed paper on top, peeled it off and made a print.

Later they cut all their words on separate small blocks so they could move them round to make different sentences. This is called moveable type.

Until the 15th century most books were hand written, then copied by monks or scribes. They were very rare and expensive, but in those days very few people could read write. Then in 1450 Johannes Gutenberg set up the first printing press in Germany. It was made from an old wine press, and it used moveable metal type. The first book that he printed was the Bible. Now books could be made quickly, and this spread new ideas and learning. Gutenberg's method of printing was called 'letterpress'. He could print 300 sheets a day by...