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happy reads

How Greeks Invented the Writing System from ‘left-to-right’

How Greeks invented writing ‘left-to-right’ has an interesting history. Let’s try to understand it. 

History of Writing System

Phoenicians were merchants from the Persian Gulf who introduced the right-to-left writing system to the Greeks in 1000 BCE.

Transition of System

This gave way to the writing of alternate lines in opposite directions also known as the Boustrophedon style of writing. In this writing style, one line is written from left to right and the next from right to left. The system of left-to-right writing started in 500 BCE.

Cause of transition

The system of writing from left to right could be accredited to the use of pen and ink for writing. Right-handed people faced difficulties writing in right-to-left and had adopted left-to-right writing to avoid smudging. Later on, this style of writing became a norm as writing from left to right on paper was easy and efficient.

Transition to Europe

Over a period of time, a version of the Greek writing system was adopted by the Italians. Writing in English was derived from writing in Latin. The Latin language followed the Greek style of writing. Greek was written from left to right. As a result, all European writing systems go from left to right.

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happy reads

Sandwiches are Delicious, but Where Did the Word Come From?

Sandwiches are one of the most commonly eaten snacks in the world.

What do you think of when the word ‘Sandwich’ pops up in your mind? Don’t you think of two pieces of bread with some filling between them?

But where did the word come from? Let’s dig in. 

This popular snack takes its name from the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu.

Now you must be wondering what that means. An ‘earl’ is a title used for a noble or lord who rules over a piece of land. ‘Sandwich’ is the town this earl ruled over; it is located in England.

John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich.

  • The 4th Earl of Sandwich lived about 250 years ago. The story goes that the Earl was very fond of playing card games
  • He enjoyed playing so much that he didn’t want to leave the game to go eat his meals.
  • He had asked his servants to bring him the cooked beef served between 2 slices of bread so that he could eat and play at the same time
  • Observing him, his friends also started asking for ‘the same as Sandwich’ and so ‘sandwich’ came to mean what it does today.

Of course, people ate bread with meat and cheese before this but the word ‘sandwich’ became popular after this.

So, would you also like to have a snack named after you?

Categories
daily buzz

This Classic Writer Added 247 Words to the Dictionary

… “Abuzz” and “creeps” are two popular ones!

Have you read Charles Dickens‘ work?  He is one of the most loved English writers and his books have been fondly passed on over generations.

Dickens was born to a poor family in Portsmouth, England. He finished school at the age of 15, after which he wrote stories and articles for magazines and newspapers. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published in 1837.

Dickens had a near-photographic memory. His writing reflects events and people from childhood memories in clear details. Many of his novels also focus on societal problems of his time.

Oliver Twist is one of Dickens’ most famous novels. It tells the story of a poor, orphan boy living in London. Another famous Dickens novel is A Christmas Carol, which became one of the most popular Christmas stories of all time.

Did you know that Dickens introduced 247 new words or new usages into the English language? Some of the words or phrases are:

  • Abuzz – “characterized by excessive gossip or activity”
  • Creeps – “a feeling of fear and revulsion”
  • Lummy– “an exclamation of surprise or dismay”
  • On the rampage – “behaving violently or destructively”
  • Red tapeworm – “a person who adheres excessively to official rules and formalities”

Which was the first novel written by Charles Dickens?

  • A Christmas Carol
  • Oliver Twist
  • The Pickwick Papers
  • David Copperfield

Categories
happy reads

All About ‘Mesopotamia’: The Cradle of Civilization

Mesopotamia’ literally means the land between two rivers.

When we talk about ‘Mesopotamia’, we refer to the section of land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Mesopotamia is often called the ‘cradle of civilization’ because it was the first place where people abandoned their nomadic lifestyle to build complex urban centers (permanent homes).

Mesopotamia used to be where modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey and Syria are present.

A quick read on the Mesopotamian civilization:

  1. The Sumerians invented writing and the system of government. Sumerian writing, government, and culture would make it easier for future civilizations to develop
  2. The Akkadians formed the first united empire. Their language replaced the Sumerian language during their time.
  3. The Babylonians became the most powerful city in Mesopotamia.‘Babylon’ means ‘Gate of God’ or ‘Gate of the Gods’
  4. The Assyrians were a warrior society. They ruled over the Middle East at different periods in history
  5. The Persians put an end to the rule of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. They went on to conquer much of the Middle East including Mesopotamia

DID YOU KNOW?

The ancient Mesopotamians developed sanitation techniques, the Pythagorean Theorem, and glass!

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happy reads

History of the ‘Cold War’ made easy!

We have all heard of the infamous cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, but what was that all about? And, most importantly, why did it happen? Let us read further to find out!

The United States and the Soviet Union became the two superpowers in the world after the Second World War

Their Belief and Principle

  • They believed in different socio-economic models – the United States followed the principles of capitalism while the Soviet Union believed in socialism

What did they do?

  • They were both extremely powerful countries and forced other countries to join forces with one of them

Were they in a state of war?

  • There was never ever really a war between the two powerful nations
  • Small wars were fought in other countries like Afghanistan, South Korea and Vietnam around that time
  • They built powerful weapons and continued to threaten each other.
  • They followed a policy called MAD Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD was a military theory that stopped USA and USSR from using nuclear weapons in the war)

Why was it named the ‘Cold War’?

George Orwell called this war The Cold War. The war got its name because both sides were fighting each other indirectly without declaring a war on each other. It was during this time that the term ‘superpower’ was coined. The cold war came to an end after the Soviet Union broke up in the 1990s.

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happy reads

The Tale of Potato Chips

We all love potato chips! But where did they come from? Was it an accidental hit or is there a story?

Let’s read and find out!

  • The credit for this great invention goes to George Crum, a chef who worked at Moon Lake Lodge, a resort in Saratoga Springs, New York
  • He was getting a lot of complaints from his customers. They said the fried potatoes were too soggy and did not taste good!
  • He wanted to teach them a lesson. So, he sliced the potatoes really thin and fried them till they were very hard and added heaps of salt to them. He thought the customers would be really unhappy
  • The customers loved the new fried potato slices. They loved the crunchy feel and the salt on top. And voila! potato chips were born
  • A lot of restaurants in the US started selling potato chips at the start of the 19th century. They became more and more popular

How did potato chips last so long?

  • It was hard to store the chips as they broke inside the paper bags. Laura Scudder, a business owner of Monterey Park, California, in 1926 came up with an idea to hand-iron sheets of wax paper into bags. These bags were then filled with potato chips and sealed with a warm iron

Which was the first big company?

  • It was ‘Frito Lay – Wikimedia Commons‘. Owned by Herman Lay, it was the first big company to set up factories and sell potato chips all over the US. The potato chips were sold under the brand name Lay’s Potato Chips, which now belongs to Pepsi