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字母发明的起源

History of Writing - The Alphabet - Extra History

世界在持续不断的暴力中走向尽头
As the world ended with fire and sword,
一个又一个文明的光芒被掐灭
and one by one, the lights of civilization were snuffed out,
旧的思想消亡了 而从残留的余光里
old ideas died, and from their ashes,
新的思想萌发了
new ideas came.
这些是能够改变世界的思想
Ideas that would change the world.
Extra History
extra history
我们前面谈论过青铜时代的消亡
As we’ve talked about the Bronze Age Collapse,
我们所提及的时代又再一次地
we’ve mentioned time and again that,
跨越了称得上远古时代的时期
across much of the ancient world,
随着文明的崩溃 文字也消亡了
As civilizations fell apart, writing died out.
文化…也消失了
Literacy…disappeared.
在许多地方 文字就这样消失了几个世纪
In many places, the written word simply vanished for centuries.
但最终 当人类重新将文字拾起时
But eventually, as humanity clawed it’s way back,
旧时的书写思路开始重新出现
this old idea of writing started to re-emerge. But,
不过是以新的形式展现
in a new form.
在我们《书写的起源》的节目中
In our episode on the origins of writing,
我们曾说过楔形文字
we talked about cuneiform,
也提过最早的书面文字如何从
and how the first written scripts evolved from scribes
记录苏美尔寺庙库存物件的图画草稿
making pictures to record the inventories
演变而来
of the vast temple warehouses of Sumer. And,
而作为演变的要素之一
as part of that evolution,
图片开始简化 并失去了它们的图形意义
the pictures became simplified, and lost their pictorial meaning. Instead,
取而代之出现了最初用声音
coming to mean the sound of the picture
表现他们画面里表达的内容
they originally represented.
这么一来 楔形文字成为一张音节字母表
In doing so, cuneiform became a syllabic alphabet,
表中每个楔形文字构思成一个个口语发音的音节
where each cuneiform design represented a syllable of spoken speech.
这种做法使得字符集变得比
This rendered the character sets smaller
纯粹的图形系统更小
than pure pictographical systems.
但楔形文字仍然留下了数百种字符供记忆
But it still left scribes with hundreds of characters to memorize.
你要记的字符越多
The more characters you had to memorize,
实现读写就越困难
the harder it is to become literate.
文字书写就会更难被广大民众接受
The slower the adoption of the written word will be. And,
因此 识字的群体也就越小
the smaller the group it will be limited to.
但是闪族语系对
But the Sumerian system had influenced the way
远古时代大部分的书写方式产生了影响
that writing in much of the ancient world developed.
因此音节系统成为标准
and so syllabic sytems had become the norm.
直到大崩溃的出现
That is, until the collapse.
那么 字母表的典故是起源于哪里呢
So where does the story of the alphabet begin?
书写系统的基础 不是音节
A writing system based, not on syllables,
而是音素 以及单音节词
but on phonemes, on single sounds.
与大崩溃前 起源于埃及的许多书写要素一样
Like many things, it begins in Egypt before the collapse.
实际上埃及人的象形文字中
The Egyptians actually had some single sound characters
有些字符是单音节词的
among their hieroglyphs.
尽管这些词占比不高
They weren’t the majority of it,
也并不是最重要的成分
they weren’t the most important part of it,
但是它们也是其中一部分
but they were there.
而迁徙到埃及的闪米特部落统领了埃及人
and migratory Semitic tribes coming to Egypt latched on to them.
借鉴了这些音符去组成他们自己的语言
borrowing the sound characters to write in their own language,
而不是试着去全盘接受埃及象形文字
Instead of trying to adopt the whole sets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
随着世界的崩溃
As the world collapsed,
这个迁徙的部落发现自己处于相当有利的地位
this set of migratory tribes found themselves in a pretty good position.
他们不用担心任何重大基础设施倒塌
They didn’t have any major infrastructure to topple,
也不用担心社会秩序变得复杂而无法控制
or intricate social order to upheave.
因此 随着当时现有权力的衰落
And so, as the existing powers fell,
他们在莱温特建造了他们自己的王国
they set up their own kingdoms in the Levant.
这些放养管理的王国中有一个叫腓尼基的王国
One of these loosely tied kingdoms was Phoenicia,
座落在中心地带
sitting at the heart of everything.
腓尼基成为了世界贸易中心 逐渐从黑暗时期走出来
Phoenicia became a trade hub for a world slowly climbing out of the darkness.
贸易的发展推动了他们的语言和思维的进步
And with their trade, came their language and their ideas.
与此同时 形成了他们的文字
With their trade, came their writing.
不过有件跟贸易相关的趣事
But there’s an interesting thing about trade,
有个奇怪的必然趋势
A weird quirk of necessity
就是他们的文字离我们所谓的字母表又近了一步
that leads us one step closer to what we think of as an alphabet.
如你所见 楔形文字主要是刻画在陶土上
You see, cuneiform was based around making impressions in clay,
因看起来像一系列奇怪的楔形符号而得名
the series of odd wedge marks that give the language its name.
将粘土作为主要书写载体很有意义
Clay made sense as the principal thing to write on
尤其是当你在登记一大批储存物品时
when you were keeping track of vast stores of goods
或者想记录特定时间重大事件
or making imperial records meant to stand the test of time.
但是黏土体积较大
But clay is also pretty bulky.
运输十分不便
It’s hard to transport,
而且如果你生活在商业社会时代
and if your society is based on trade,
你会想要用其他东西来做记载
you’re going to want something else to write on.
腓尼基人想到了用纸莎草纸做载体
The Phonecians turned to papyrus.
因此如今他们掌握了
So now they had the single phoneme writing
闪米特人传统的单音节文字
of the Semitic cultures,
书写这种新发明的字母在便携的纸莎草纸上很容易
a new script that could be used on easily portable papyrus,
并且他们拥有庞大的贸易链
and a vast trading network.
同时也带动了他们的书写文化
This meant that they brought their writing with them.
其他文明也开始学习这种方式
And other cultures began to pick it up
通过学习和改进使其更适合自身的语言
and pick it up and modify it to fit their languages.
其中对此新体系最为狂热的
And one of the most enthusiastic adopters
要数希腊
of this new system were the Greeks.
随着迈锡尼文明的彻底消失
With the utter destruction of the Mycenaean civilization,
希腊人的书写体系也完全遗失殆尽
the Greeks really had lost their writing system.
随之而来的全黑时代
For the whole dark age that followed,
希腊文字也就此消失
Greek writing was just gone. But,
但是随着贸易体系的重新建立
with the re-establishment of trade,
希腊城邦再次发展
the Greek city-states began to grow again.
随着城邦的发展 它们吸纳了这种文字体系
And as they did so, they latched onto this system,
可以帮助他们更好地进行扩张
that would clearly do so much to help their expansion.
但是到了这个时期
But up until this point,
腓尼基人的字母表已经被闪族语系人广泛使用
the Phoenician alphabet had mostly been used by Semitic speaking peoples,
而且闪族语有个很有趣而奇特的特点
and Semitic languages had an interesting oddity.
他们几乎是不发元音的
They used almost no vowels.
这意味着腓尼基人实际上并没有在他们的字母表创建元音
This meant that the Phoneticians never actually developed vowels for their alphabet.
但元音是单词的一部分的时候 他们通常是不发音的
When vowel sounds were part of a word, they were just implied.
人们可以仅仅只是通过
Everybody could tell what the word was,
写出单词的辅音来表达这个词
simply just by writing out the consonants in it.
不过 希腊是个印欧语系的国家
Greek though, is an Indo-European language.
元音是这个语系的主体
It is ???? of vowels.
因此希腊人研究了腓尼基人的字母表
So the Greeks looked at the Phonetician alphabet,
发现这个字母表有一些辅音
and realized that there were a handful of consonants
是他们没有使用过的
in there that they simply didn’t use.
而且字母的发音也跟
Letters that there simply wasn’t an equivalent
希腊语不太一样
sound in Greek for. So,
因此虽有小聪明但懒惰的他们
being simultaneously crafty and lazy,
他们直接将这些字母结合元音开始纳入希腊语
they just took those letters, and started using them for Greek vowel sounds.
但这是个大项目 因为打从一开始
And this is ????, because for the first time,
语言中的每一个发音都已经在该字母表里有一一对应
every sound in a language was represented in it’s alphabet.
也不会有一堆
There weren’t a ton
其他需要你了解并有效运用它们的东西
of additional things you needed to know from outside the written system
也就是编写体统之外的知识
to effectively use it.
你也不需要为了传授你的文字给外国人
Or that you would need to explain to a foreigner
而向他们解释这些
on top of it, in order to teach them your writing.
而相继开始经商和远航的希腊人
And the Greeks, being traders and seafarers in turn,
也将他们的体系带到了西方
spread this system westward.
首先是传播到意大利 接着 间断间接地
First to Italy, and then, if not always, directly,
传到了欧洲的其他国家
to the rest of the European world.
他们所传播的体系
The system they spread is the basis
是当今大多数国家使用的字母表的奠基石
for the alphabets that much of the world uses today.
事实上 我们深受这个体系的影响
In fact, we are so rooted in it,
我会建议你花点时间去研究下希腊语
I would ask you to take a moment to consider the Greek language,
其中新发明的元音
with its newly minted vowels.
最开始的两个字母是什么?
What are the first two letters?
是Alpha和Beta
Alpha and Beta.
当你把这两个字母组合到一起 会发现什么
and when you push those two together, what do you get?
这个词是我们用来描述
The very word we use to describe
我们书写音位体系的词
our system of written phonemes.
“Alphabet”
Alphabet.
因此这个体系的最终发展
So while there are many other changes
还是有很多变化的
that this system eventually goes through,
今天我们就讲到这里
this is where we’re going to stop today.
到现在我们讲过了字母表
Because now, we got an alphabet.
我们讲过了
We got the next major development
既书写历史之后的第二个主要发展
in the history of writing.
此举推动了文学传播
The thing that helps spread literacy,
并且使得这些单词
and makes adoption of the written word
更易为大多数的欧洲国家所接受
easy for many of the European cultures
而以前的欧洲文化是没有书写体系的
that had never had a writing system before.
正如一束光照进了
And a light emerges from the darkness
青铜时代没落的黑暗时期
of the Bronze Age Collapse
给西方世界带来了光明
that will kindle the Western World.

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视频概述

阐述字母的发明和发音的发展历史

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

Natalie

审核员

审核员 GK

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPrcfawo9UM

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