Ancient-Post Classical Writing
The oldest forms of writing in the Middle Ages date all the way back to the ancient era. The Chinese would often carve dates or symbols onto rocks to inscribe important events that would occur. They would also create shrines for influential and popular Dynasty leaders (Harrist 2008, p. 238-250). This practice continued into the beginning of the Middle Ages, though during the early ancient era the east also developed parchment writing. However, parchment was very expensive, and writing any books or documents on them became a long, expensive process. That is, until paper was invented. The Chinese actually were so far ahead in writing technology that they also invented paper in the ancient era, but western countries didn’t learn about paper until a few centuries into the Middle Ages (Regimund 2007).
Unlike most countries, as writing evolved through Asian culture, the number of characters used to write actually increased, by several thousand in fact. While this seems like it would make the language more difficult to learn, it actually allowed more people to understand the writing. Because each character only stood for one thing, and the Asian languages focused on the order of a sentence instead of our modernized grammar, people could read and understand writings without knowing how to speak a single word of the language. This allowed all of the different Asian countries to effectively communicate with each other, regardless of language (Guar 1985, p 80-87).
The Printing Press
Most people in America have learned at some point that Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press. What most people don’t know is that the invention had already been in existence for a few centuries. While Gutenberg brought his own version of the printing press to light in the 15th century, the Chinese had already created their own working printing press nearly 500 years before. The first printing press ever created was a wooden block made by the Chinese in the 7th century, which could be used as a stamp for different writings (Alves n.d.). Over the next few centuries, the Asian countries worked to improve upon their own language in order to better use the printing press for all writing.
In the 12th and 13th century, China, Japan, and Korea improved and modified their language to further implement the printing press. China became the first country to create a writing system that covered every word in a simple and easy process. In the year 1403, Korea created the first mobile metal word type for the printing press, and it was used to combine the Korean and Chinese language. The Asian languages were further modified when Japan created new symbols and phonetics for the different countries. Since Japan had always spoken and written Chinese, these new modifications allowed them to start creating their own branch of the Asian language (Guar 1985, p 80-87).