Writing has been called a way of encoding information, or a system of symbolling. A set of visibly recognizable signs (graphemes) stands for a coherent pattern of sounds (phonemes) that hold meaning in a particular language. This is the intellectual achievement that writing represents. In another way, writing brings with it a new ‘technology’ as it were, its own skills and tools. Today writing is possible for a seven-year old because we use paper and pens/pencils. But the Sumerian scribe had to press signs with a wedgeshaped stylus on to clay, his Egyptian counterpart had to draw picture signs, according to a canon of size and proportions of figures, on papyrus and on temple and tomb walls— clearly adult work The first writing system of the world each consisted not only of hundreds of signs that had to be learnt, they also involved the handling of papyrus and reed brushes (in Egypt), or inscribing a tortoise shell (China), or handling a moist clay tablet and shaping a stylus and getting the writing done while the tablet was still wet (Mesopotamia).

In all the civilizations except the Mesopotamian, the writing system was logographic, with one sign representing one word (a concept, quality, or thing). Egypt maintained this writng system till about the fourth century AD, and China, with great modification, until today.

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