Do the writings tend to become simpler over time? In order to answer this question, researchers studied the evolution of the Vai script, originating in Liberia, which was invented by illiterates in 1833.
A primarily figurative writing
The Vai script was invented in West Africa in 1833 by eight illiterate men. The first elements of thiswere complex and figurative since they could represent water, a ball and a pregnant woman and there were about 200 of them.
The transmission of this writing was then carried out between a teacher and an apprentice. Thanks to archives from several countries, the authors of the study show that the Vai script has undergone a compression as well as a simplification of its most complex symbols. They explain that the establishment of a complex visual system is important at the origin of a writing so that the first illiterate users can apprehend all the nuances. The natural simplification of the system over time by collective memory is therefore a natural phenomenon and seems to be common to many.