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Decoding was only possible because we had sufficient continuity of oral skills to link stuff we knew to stuff that was there. And whether our interpretation is correct or not is an issue of debate.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 at 10:33:47 AM EST
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ummm so the information was there? sort-of there? not there at all?

I don't really think oral skills had much to do with decoding hieroglyphs or cuneiforms. Archaeological evidence, and other writings, of various ages, were what permitted it.

I postulate that encoded knowledge is objective and intemporal (but, obviously, contextual in its interpretation)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 at 11:10:54 AM EST
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Nope, no more than DNA is.

We were able to use the other writings because we knew how to read their descendants. Reading is a skill we pass on orally.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2013 at 11:18:58 AM EST
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No, speaking is a skill we pass on orally.

Reading and writing are enhanced language skills that can be learned after that. Humans are capable of teaching themselves to read (with difficulty, but it can be done - just as most people can learn the basics of most languages, given tapes and books.)

The point isn't that language exists, but that enhanced skills allow information to persist and accumulate outside of human brains, and to be transmitted without personal contact.

And it's not just writing. Some of the most popular language courses are spoken-word. They're recorded and replayed to order.

Again, the key difference is that they continue to exist independent of direct personal contact. Just like iPad games for kids that teach them word basics when their parents aren't around.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Nov 24th, 2013 at 01:42:54 PM EST
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