The alphabetical order has been around for 800 years.But is it? (2023)

Most of us learn the alphabet in the kindergarten, singing from 'A for Apple' A 'Z for Zebra' without stopping without asking why the cards are organized in this specific sequence.

However, the alphabetical order, that the early knowledge we take for granted plays a much greater role in our lives than we normally consider.

It determines everything, from the organization of school records and street maps to the way we sail in dictionaries, library shelves and the selection of spices in the local supermarket.

But the alphabetical order was not always the standard classification method of humanity.

A is for alphabet

According to the author and social historian Judith Flanders, a series of other classification methods (geographical, chronological, hierarchical and categorical) were favored by the alphabetical order for centuries.

"It is not necessary to have a specific sequence of letters," she saysABC RN Late Night Live.

"In fact, civilization went very well without it. There was a Sumerian cuneiform, there were Egyptian hieroglyphs, there were Mesoamerican forms of writing. There were many forms of writing ... that do not use the alphabet."

The alphabetical order has been around for 800 years.But is it? (1)

The alphabet is such a strangely unlikely idea that it is believed that it was invented only once throughout the history of mankind, instead of writing, which was invented at least three times in different parts of the world.

The alphabet, as we know, emerged more than 3,000 years ago in the western desert of Egypt, when a group of merchants, mercenaries and semi-community travelers gathered talking about different languages.

"Sharing the mother tongue, sharing writing systems, developed this type of taquiigraphy," says Flanders.

"The alphabet is actually an abbreviation. T, for example, is the abbreviation of the 'Tuh' sound. They created this type of hybrid to communicate."

L is for library

The alphabetical order has been around for 800 years.But is it? (2)

The order of the alphabet was set shortly after the invention of letters.But when this order was used for a purpose that would not memorize the letters?

Onefor study, by Dr. Andrew Connor, of the former Center for Cultures of the University of Monash, he has found evidence of alphabetical order in Greek administrative texts since the second century BC.C.

There is also some evidence that scrolls in the great library of Alexandria, founded in approximately 300 BC, were presented in alphabetical order.

It is believed that the poet and scholar Callimachus, who worked in the library, has written a catalog of the library known as Los Pila, which were called the first catalog of the World Library.

It seems possible, based on a pinake extract that survives from the third century, that the rollers in each genre were filed in the alphabetical order of frontline: authors whose names began with a section, those whose names began with B in B nearby emits.

"We don't know, this may have happened," warns the Flanders, "but also, the alphabetical order really takes a long time to use common use."

"Even the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, even the libraries of the monastery, which is where most books were in Western Europe, although they only had 100 books per monastery, some of only 20 or 30.

"So you don't have to put these things in order. You can simply put your hand in what you need."

R is for religious hierarchy

The idea of classifying the information in alphabetical order, which Aristotle presents before the basilides, for example, sometimes was with firm resistance.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the encyclopedists were almost all clergy and organized their material theologically.

"It was extremely important [that] encyclopedias were in the order of God's creation because not doing this: putting angels, 'Angeli', before God, 'God', just because 'Angeli' begins with and God ',"God begins with D, not only meant that you were probably not very intelligent, but you probably didn't understand God's creation," says Flanders.

"Worse, it can be a rebel, it can be trying to increase the hierarchy."

S is for social order

In a world more stratified than ours, classifying things hierarchically seemed totally natural.

The book of Domeday, a summary of the occupation of the Earth in England and parts of Wales produced for William, the conqueror in 1086, evaluated the values of 13,418 places, organizing them first by state and then by geography.

The king arrived first, followed, broken by the region, by the clergy, by the barons and, finally, the most humble tenants of each district.

The alphabetical order has been around for 800 years.But is it? (3)

In order for Domeday's book information to be accessible to readers, they needed to know the regions of England and Wales and social classification orders.

"It begins to be used by people who already have information on the subject," says Flanders.

"You can look for things if you already know where people live."

The alphabetical order increased the social hierarchy in two ways, says Flanders.

First, the neutrality of this order system meant that someone whose name begins with a characteristic at the beginning of a list not because it is a great owner or has more money.

Secondly, it democratized access to information.

"The alphabet means that he does not have to know things to start looking for things. He does not need knowledge, in addition to the fact that, for example, Derbyshire begins with a D," says Flanders.

R is for random

But not everyone was happy with the introduction of the alphabetical order.

In 1818, the English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleidge denounced the encyclopedias "where the desired information is divided into numerous extended fragments over many volumes, such as a broken mirror on the floor."

The alphabetical order has been around for 800 years.But is it? (4)

Flanders says that Coletidge "found him ridiculous, precisely because ... it was a neutral system."

"And so, when Britannica's encyclopedia was published, which was the first in his day, he opposed this new publication because it was random. Why did the things that began with one were at the beginning?"

In protest, Coleridge promised to produce its own encyclopedia, the 'metropolitan encyclopedia', which should have organized thematically.

It seems that the broad nature of the Collectidge project led it to the end, since it never completed its non -alphabetical encyclopedia.

D is for dewey decimal

Another man who created what he considered a significant improvement in the alphabetical order was Melvil Dewey, an American librarian who invented the Dewey decimal classification system (DDC) in 1876.

Flanders says that the system is "dense with problems": the main thing is that Dewey believed that he could take all the learning of the world and give category numbers.

"Dewey created this system in Amherst, Massachusetts," she says.

"I was in college there and was hired in a 20 -and -one to create a catalog. I had not traveled. I didn't know much about libraries.

"I am not sure if I really knew a lot about the world, and he based [his system] on a worldview centered on Europe centered on Europe and Christian."

In other words, Dewey has created a system that worked for his white Christian world, but is very problematic for librarians who try to archive, for example, books about Islam or feminism today.

The problem in the center of the Dewey system is, says Flanders, that it is "extremely loaded with value."

Of course, that is exactly the reason we trust in the alphabet due to its totally neutral nature.

However, after eight centuries of being our main ordering system, the alphabetical order may be coming out.

With our growing ships dependence on SAT and search engines such as Google, we no longer need to look for things in alphabetical order.Once that, the information is requested around content and context.

"Now we return to pre -alfabetic times," says Fland, "where you don't put genesis, exodus, leviticus, numbers in alphabetical order."

"We do not bother to put athletes called Brown in alphabetical order when we look for them on Wikipedia, we simply write the name we want."

After centuries of domain, the alphabetical order can be a phase designed to pass.

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