New Book announcement

Brookes, Tim brookes at CHAMPLAIN.EDU
Mon Dec 13 23:21:48 UTC 2010

Endangered Alphabets
Subtitle: An Essay On Writing

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Percentage Possibility Publications

Book URL:

Author: Tim Brookes

Paperback: ISBN: 9780984196777 Pages: 186 Price U.S. $ 29.95


The world has between 6,000 and 7,000 languages, half of which may be extinct by the end of this century. Another and even more dramatic way in which this cultural diversity is shrinking concerns the scripts in which those languages are written. Writing has become so dominated by a small number of global cultures that those 6,000-7,000 languages are written in fewer than 100 writing systems. Moreover, at least a third of the world's remaining alphabets are endangered-no longer taught in schools, no longer used for commerce or government, understood only by a few elders, restricted to a few monasteries or used only in ceremonial documents, magic spells, or secret love letters. The Endangered Alphabets Project, an exhibition of carvings and a book, is one of the first attempts to illustrate and examine this issue. Endangered Alphabets, written for the non-specialist, acts as an explanatory text for the exhibition but goes farther to ask questions about writing itself: how it developed, how it spread across the globe, how the same alphabet took on radically different forms, like Darwin's finches, on neighboring islands, and how developments in technology affected writing, and vice versa. With 16 pages of photographs.

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