Jared Diamond

“For example, missionary linguists are working on modified Roman alphabets for hundreds of New Guinea and Native American languages. Government linguists devised the modified Roman alphabet adopted in 1928 by Turkey for writing Turkish, as well as the modified Cyrillic alphabets designed for many tribal languages of Russia. In a few cases, we also know something about the individuals who designed writing systems by blueprint copying in the remote past. For instance, the Cyrillic alphabet itself (the one still used today in Russia) is descended from an adaptation of Greek and Hebrew letters devised by Saint Cyril, a Greek missionary to the Slavs in the ninth century A.D. The first preserved texts for any Germanic language (the language family that includes English) are in the Gothic alphabet created by Bishop Ulfilas, a missionary living with the Visigoths in what is now Bulgaria in the fourth century A.D. Like Saint Cyril’s invention, Ulfilas’s alphabet was a mishmash of letters borrowed from different sources: about 20 Greek letters, about five Roman letters, and two letters either taken from the runic alphabet or invented by Ulfilas himself. Much”


Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
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Guns, Germs, and Steel Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
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