About ANTH 015 A

Survey of how human languages are represented orthographically, both historically and in the present day. We examine the origins of writing, writing system change over time, and the connections between spoken and written language. Cross-listed with: LING 088.


Cross listed with LING 088; Total enrollment = 60; Open to Degree and CDE students

Section Description

From Pictograms to :) This course presents a survey of the ways human languages are represented in writing, both historically and in the present day. We will examine the origins of writing in Sumer, China, and Mesoamerica, and how these systems have changed over time. Typologically, we will study systems in which symbols represent a) concepts or ideas, b) individual words, c) syllables, and d) sounds. Students will try their hand at decipherment, and engage with questions of how written representation affects our understanding of language. Beginning with ~3500BC, we will conclude with the rise of internet-based communication and emojis.

Course Dates



Remote (View Campus Map)


to on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

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Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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