"Most early writing systems begin with small images used as words, literally depicting the thing in question. But pictograms of this kind are limited. Some physical objects are too difficult to depict. And many words are concepts rather than objects.
There are several ways in which early writing evolves beyond the pictorial stage. One is by combining pictures to suggest a concept. Another is by a form of pun, in which a pictorial version of one object is modified to suggest another quite different object which sounds the same when spoken."
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