Publication details [#5125]

Publication type
Chapter in book
Publication language
Person as a subject


Linguists have identified more than six thousand languages spoken the world over, but only a few hundred of these have a literary tradition. Traditional writing systems are gradually being displaced by the Latin alphabet, preferred by linguists, who add diacritical marks to indicate the distinctive features of indigenous languages. In the long and complex history of the invention of writing, it is not always easy to determine the precise contribution of translators. This paper highlights the efforts of four translators who have helped to give nations a memory: Ulfila, the inventor of the Gothic alphabet (fourth century, Bulgaria); Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian, Albanian and Georgian alphabets (fifth century, Armenia); Cyril, the inventor of the Glagolitic alphabet (ninth century, Moravia); and James Evans, the inventor of the syllabic writing system for Cree (nineteenth century, Canada).
Source : Based on information from author(s)