Who Invented Writing and What Did They Write about? With British Museum curator, Irving Finkel. Why Do we Talk in Different Languages? How do Cheetahs Run so Fast?

Everything Under The Sun

By Molly Oldfield

Who Invented Writing and What Did They Write about? With British Museum curator, Irving Finkel. Why Do we Talk in Different Languages? How do Cheetahs Run so Fast?

Friday, 15 February

Talking and writing! We all do it every day, and its one of the most important things we do! Today on Everything Under The Sun we explore who came up with the idea of writing with a brilliant guest from the British Museum, Irving Finkel who looks after the oldest writing in the world – so old it is written on clay! Plus why we talk different languages.

Our first question, from Benjamin is “Why do people speak different languages?” We explore why we speak different languages as well as how many people speak the Ainu language in the world, how languages change and evolve and sometimes disappear. Find out how the English language has been changing, and about the book Lost Words, full of poems about words of nature - like acorn, dandelion and otter - that have been sadly taken out of the Junior Oxford English Dictionary but why it's so important they come back and are used by kids every day! Plus learn about the special parrots who were the last speakers of the Maypore language of the Amazon.

Our second question, from Shiva, who loves cheetahs and leopards is, “who invented writing and what did they write about?” To answer this great question we have Irving Finkel, curator of ancient writing at the British Museum. Irving works with the world’s oldest writing so he is in a good position to know! Find out who invented writing about 5,000 years ago, how they wrote, what their writing was called and what they wrote about. It turns out they wrote about the same kinds of things that we do – anything you can imagine! Find out how you could take part in one of the biggest jigsaw puzzles in the world, by learning cuneiform and helping the British Museum piece together ancient spells, myths and stories.

Our third question is about the animal Shiva loves – cheetahs! It comes from Martha and Heidi and it is, “how can cheetah’s run So fast?” Find out how these incredible animals have bodies that are adapted for speed and how they run faster than Usain Bolt.

Who won a copy of my new book, NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD with their pirate impressions? Have a listen and find out, plus discover how you could how to win a copy THIS week!

Find out about my brand new book, Natural Wonders of the World on my website: www.mollyoldfield.com/naturalwonders


Or the amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-Wonders-World-Discover-marvels/dp/1526360667

For more information about the Ashurbanipal exhibition on at the British Museum until the 24th February see here: https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/ashurbanipal.aspx

To see more about The Secret Museum, which includes a clay tablet written on by Ashurbanipal and more stories from Irving Finkel see here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Museum-Molly-Oldfield/dp/0007455283

See a cheetah running in slow motion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4nd9GF1dRg

I hope you enjoy the show! If you like Everything Under The Sun please do rate, review and subscribe!


If you would like to send in a question or enter a competition just record your entry on an adult's smartphone and ask them to email the recording to me at molly@everythingunderthesun.co.uk.


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With thanks to Irving, the questions askers, the pirates, Ash Gardner, Tyler Simmons Dale, Audio Networks and Billy Colours.


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