Critical Brain Processes Involved in Deciphering the Greek Alphabet

  • Derrick de Kerckhove


The object of this chapter is to present a hypothesis concerning the underpinnings of Western culture. Did the fully phonetic alphabet developed by the Greeks and still used today in Greece (and in the rest of the West in its Latin and Cyrillic variations), have a conditioning impact on the biases of specialized brain processes? The hypothesis is that when the Greeks introduced vowels to adapt the Phoenician alphabet to suit the needs of their own Indo-European language, they changed the nature of the reading process from a context-based to a sequence-based decipherment. This change in turn may have been responsible for the reorganization of brain strategies, and this may explain why the direction of writing changed from the leftward orientation of Phoenician to rightward. The implications of such a change may have had far-reaching consequences on the biases of Western cognition.


Recombination Clarification Aphasia Derrick Alexia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derrick de Kerckhove
    • 1
  1. 1.McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, and Department of FrenchUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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