Summary Of ' The Shallows ' By Nicholas G. Carr

981 Words Aug 29th, 2015 4 Pages
In his article “The Shallows”, Nicholas G. Carr explains to his readers how reading & writing came to be, it 's effects on the brain, and what both Plato and Socrates thought about the subjects.

According to Carr, writing began in the year 8000 BC, when people would use small clay tokens that were engraved with symbols as a way to keep track of livestock and goods (Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains). Then during the end of the fourth century BC, the Sumerians and Egyptians both developed their own systems of writings called cuneiform and hieroglyphs respectively. Cuneiform was a system of wedge-shaped characters whereas hieroglyphs was a system of symbols. Both incorporated what is called logosyllabic characters, characters that denoted not just things, but speech sounds too. This meant that both the reader and the writer had to work extra hard to interpret the meaning of each character. As a result, reading and writing cuneiform and hieroglyphs became so mentally stressful that its use was soon restricted to the intellectual elite who had both the time and brain power to read and write the respective system (Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains). Then around 750 BC, everything changed. It was around this time that the Greeks developed the very first phonetic alphabet with vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Also, through the analyzation of all of the sounds used in spoken language, the Greeks were the first to be able to…
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