Writing Beyond Writing: African Indigenous Scripts and What They Have to Teach Us


Track: Trade Secrets | A8 |
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 1:30pm – 2:15pm
Held in: Jujama
Presenter:
Tim Brookes - Endangered Alphabets

The continent of Africa, especially West Africa, has a long and rich tradition of indigenously-created symbol systems that express meaning in ways that go well beyond conventional Western definitions of writing. As a result, they have often been dismissed as “primitive” or “childish.” In this session, we will introduce a number of these systems and argue that, quite to the contrary, they use communication techniques that have a complexity and sophistication that we have lost by understanding and defining writing too narrowly.