Ancient Writing and the History of the Alphabet, premieres exclusively on Wondrium in May. | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksHappy May 1st!

I’ve written extensively in the past about modern May 1st celebrations in Greece, Anthesteria and Thergelia, and the International Workers’ Day of May and the Haymarket Affair. So, instead of writing about May 1st, I thought I’d share today an interesting press release I came across on Cision.

Ancient writing and the history of the alphabet

You might think you know your ABCs, but you’re barely scratching the surface of language and letters, as Professor John McWhorter of Columbia University demonstrates in his enlightening 16-part series, Ancient Writing and the History of the Alphabet, which premieres exclusively on Wondrium on May 19, 2023.

The author and American linguist guides you on a journey to the very beginning of writing to understand how the many threads of history and linguistics came together to create our alphabet. With his trademark humor and conversational style, McWhorter makes this larger-than-life history as entertaining as it is fascinating.

“We’ve been speaking for possibly 2 million years and writing for less than 6,000—just what led to as weird and wonderful [of] an invention as writing, and how did that become the 26 letters of our alphabet? That intrigues me, and I want to share what I have learned with you,” notes Professor McWhorter.

He covers some of the big questions of language that you’ve probably never considered but have fascinating answers for, such as:

  • Why do letters look the way they do?
  • Why does a letter like “C” exist when we already have “S” and “K”?
  • How did punctuation first develop?

And as you trace the movements and evolutions that helped shape the writing we use today, you will have the opportunity to see language in a whole new way, one that connects us in ways you may have never realized.

More language-related courses

If you can’t wait until the 19th, check out the rest of his language-related courses on Wondrium, which include:

  • Language A to Z: Solve some of the most intriguing scientific, historical, and sociological puzzles behind the inner workings of language with a master instructor.
  • Language Families of the World: Using the tools of linguistics, undertake a voyage of discovery to uncover the origins of language families around the world and the ways languages have developed and changed over time.
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage: This course dispels the cloud of confusion that clings to English, giving you a crystal-clear view of why we use it the way we do and where it fits into the diverse languages of the world.
  • The Story of Human Language: Discover the fascinating history of human language-from its beginning as a single tongue spoken some 150,000 years ago to the estimated 6,000 languages spoken today.