Why do none of the native southern african languages have their own alphabet?

Status
Not open for further replies.

netstrider

Expert Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
3,320
Southern Africa was on the verge of it IMO. The evidence is very clear with the likes of Great Zimbabwe, which was put up around 1200AD.

Great Zimbabwe: 1200AD
800px-Conical_Tower_-_Great_Enclosure_III_%2833736918448%29.jpg


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe#Decline

Broch of Mousa: 100BC
Mousa_Broch_20080821_02.jpg


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch_of_Mousa

I suspect the reason why Southern Africa was behind a lot of other places is simply due to climate. The weather in Southern Africa is comparatively mild. The summers are hot, but not Egypt hot, and the winters are cold, but not northern Europe cold. They didn't need to rely as much on technology to survive as much as other places did, hence they didn't have as much of a need to develop written language. As the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention.

Storing food for a winter for example is one of those things that would drive the development of a written language.

Anyone wanting to claim cultural superiority or inferiority because of this would be pretty stupid as this is a purely environmental explanation.
Heard of Adam's Calendar?

 

SaucePlz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
550
Nice, but for some reason we did not see any of that in South Africa.
There is a legitimate philosophical and historical question to be asked here: why do some cultures develop a written language, whilst others do not? What factors are related to this?

Getting angsty about the fact that written languages were not developed in Southern Africa just exposes your cultural relativism.
Most writing systems are developed for record keeping, if you live a nomadic lifestyle in a place with abundant resources (like SSA), you don't really need worry about it.
Quite Simple, There was and is no need for one.

Southern tribes were nomadic tribes that migrated down from Sudan. There was no need for Technology. No Industrial Advancements. Engineering. Mathematics.

Historical Archives were Word of mouth. Hence spoken Language. but no Written requirement.

Some tribes, Mostly Boesman/Khoisan did make cave drawings from time to time, That was the Closest they came To a written language.

Resources are plentiful in Africa. There is no need for innovation and evolution for daily survival. Except maybe running away from the Odd hungry Lion. Even the Khoisan know stealing a Ostrich egg is a great sport.
This.

All written language started out as pictograms, add some abstraction to make it easier to replicate (simpler forms/shapes), more abstraction leads us to things like cuneiform and so it develops through abstraction, adaptation and the resources available.
 

konfab

Honorary Master
Joined
Jun 23, 2008
Messages
31,601
Most writing systems are developed for record keeping, if you live a nomadic lifestyle in a place with abundant resources (like SSA), you don't really need worry about it.

This.

All written language started out as pictograms, add some abstraction to make it easier to replicate (simpler forms/shapes), more abstraction leads us to things like cuneiform and so it develops through abstraction, adaptation and the resources available.

There are plenty of stone structures around this part of the world that refute the nomadic part. And I still think it is more due to climate than the availability of natural resources.
 

SaucePlz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
550
There are plenty of stone structures around this part of the world that refute the nomadic part. And I still think it is more due to climate than the availability of natural resources.
Everyone had a holiday home :p
I also painted with a very very broad brush, there are way too many various cultures to make the statement I made accurate for all of them.

Climate and resources availability are tied to one another, so it's a mixture of both, with climate obviously being the driving force. I don't think we can really know with certainty, but interesting to discuss nonetheless.
 

grok

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
26,293
Anyone wanting to claim cultural superiority or inferiority because of this would be pretty stupid as this is a purely environmental explanation.
Still.. my ancestors grew up in a far more superior environment than yours.. :ROFL:
(or should that be less superior environment? Hardships requires better innovation leading to faster growth as per your own example)

Seriously, by boiling everything down to one factor you remove the influence of humans themselves.

So if all civilizations, wars, conquests etc were just a result of environment & nobody's fault, then why am I being held accountable for a natural occurring phenomena?
Surely colonialism, slavery, capitalism, racism etc. boils down to just by-products of differences in environment?
It also doesn't address the issue of why neighboring or closely located states (same environment, same climate) can have such differing cultures.

Personally I'd think the ability to organize in coherent or at least homogenous groups and work together or form institutions like governments that benefitted certain cultures is another factor.
There may be more.. for example organized religion.
 

konfab

Honorary Master
Joined
Jun 23, 2008
Messages
31,601
Still.. my ancestors grew up in a far more superior environment than yours.. :ROFL:
(or should that be less superior environment? Hardships requires better innovation leading to faster growth as per your own example)

Seriously, by boiling everything down to one factor you remove the influence of humans themselves.

So if all civilizations, wars, conquests etc were just a result of environment & nobody's fault, then why am I being held accountable for a natural occurring phenomena?

Surely colonialism, slavery, capitalism, racism etc. boils down to just by-products of differences in environment?
It also doesn't address the issue of why neighboring or closely located states (same environment, same climate) can have such differing cultures.

Personally I'd think the ability to organize in coherent or at least homogenous groups and work together or form institutions like governments that benefitted certain cultures is another factor.
There may be more.. for example organized religion.
Stupid people would claim you are a beneficiary of it, therefore you are obligated to give whatever you have to the people who are not a beneficiary of it.

They are stupid because they are ignorant of how wealth is actually created, they think that wealth is like the trust fund that their rich daddies left them.
 

deweyzeph

Executive Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
9,691
What we think of today as the "Latin alphabet" was actually based on the Etruscan alphabet which the Romans borrowed for themselves from the Etruscans. The Etruscan alphabet itself evolved from an earlier version of the ancient Greek alphabet, and the ancient Greek alphabet evolved from the Phoenician alphabet. There's absolutely no shame in one language borrowing an alphabet from another one. It's been going on for millennia.
 

Polymathic

Honorary Master
Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
25,024
Wrong. Afrikaans doesn’t use the Arabic alphabet. There was Afrikaans text which was written in Arabic though which is what you’re probably thinking of.


Southern Africa was on the verge of it IMO. The evidence is very clear with the likes of Great Zimbabwe, which was put up around 1200AD.

Great Zimbabwe: 1200AD
800px-Conical_Tower_-_Great_Enclosure_III_%2833736918448%29.jpg


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Zimbabwe#Decline

Broch of Mousa: 100BC
Mousa_Broch_20080821_02.jpg


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broch_of_Mousa

I suspect the reason why Southern Africa was behind a lot of other places is simply due to climate. The weather in Southern Africa is comparatively mild. The summers are hot, but not Egypt hot, and the winters are cold, but not northern Europe cold. They didn't need to rely as much on technology to survive as much as other places did, hence they didn't have as much of a need to develop written language. As the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention.

Storing food for a winter for example is one of those things that would drive the development of a written language.

Anyone wanting to claim cultural superiority or inferiority because of this would be pretty stupid as this is a purely environmental explanation.
Technology and civilization spread across Eurasia and North Africa through cultural contact, be it try form of migration, conquest or trade and a fair bit of genocide, due to the Sahara, Rainforests and Ethiopian mountains Southern Africa was cut off from that cultural exchange.
 

pinball wizard

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
32,116
What a fckin genius, well fkn obviously they didn’t have writing if they didn’t even have an alphabet. Keep thinking you need it. Considering that written languages have been around since the Bronze Age why did they not have written language?
They were too busy inventing useful things like the wheel. Oh, wait, that's not right, is it...
 

SaucePlz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
550
Did y'all read the part where I said

Do you even know what an example is? I didn't say "the wheel", did I?
You used the wheel as an example, I responded using your example.
I'm assuming you want a list of things that they invented that we still consider useful to this day?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top