8 min readNov 13, 2023

Psychology Research

Volume 13, Number 10, October 2023 (Serial Number 148)


300,000 (at Least) Years for Homo Sapiens to Develop Writing: A Review of Silvia Ferrara’s The Greatest Invention, Tr. Todd Portnowitz

Jacques Coulardeau

pp. 443–468


The author centers on writing seen both as a human ability and a transcription of oral language, and yet she very heavily refuses there to be any continuity from oral to written language, though once or twice what she says, like in her fifth step about “assigning sounds to signs”, is exactly the reverse of what Homo Sapiens did when he developed writing: he assigned signs to sounds. No matter what way it works for a decipherer, and for Homo Sapiens when he developed some writing system for his/her/their language, and his/her/their language alone in 6–8,000 BCE, the connection between an oral language and its written version is connected, but flexible so that it can be easily replaced by another written code for the very same oral utterances, like the Phoenicians developing the first real consonantal alphabet to replace, for Semitic languages, the Cuneiform writing of the Sumerians (Indo-Iranian) and Akkadians (Semitic), and later on the Greeks adding the vowels of Indo-European languages to the Phoenician alphabet that only had “alep” and only when it was the initial sound or letter of a word.

She alludes to signs in painted caves, hence going back to 45,000 BCE, and all over the world, but she does not exploit it. She acknowledges there were six cradles in the world and does not give them in chronological order, hence does not link them to the general evolution of the concerned human groups, and she neglects the fact that Egyptian writing and Sumerian writing developed at the same time or so but with a strong link between them: the Akkadians were the scribes of the Sumerians and they were Semitic like the Egyptians, whereas the Sumerians were Indo-Iranian coming down from the Iranian Plateau and settling in Mesopotamia before moving on. She mistakenly declares them Turkic, or speaking Turkish, an agglutinative language.

Mutations selected naturally transformed the foot, the larynx, the respiratory system, the articulatory system, the subglottal zone, and its innervation of the pre-Sapiens Hominins concerned to enable…




Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP