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The Sound Kitchen

Ancient writing and old plumbing

Audio 12:39
David Franklin/Getty Images/A Terrade

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about cuneiform and hieroglyphics. There’s “On This Day”, musings on the fountains of Versailles, some great music - and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the arrow in the photo and enjoy!


Hello everyone!

Welcome to The Sound Kitchen. You can catch the programme on-the-air every Saturday at 6:15, 7:15, 14:45 and 16:45 universal time. You’ll hear the winner’s names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you have grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and tune in every Saturday.

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This week’s quiz: On 1 April I asked you to write in and tell me the difference between cuneiform and hieroglyphics.

The answer is: Hieroglyphic writing represented consonants only. Cuneiform script represented whole syllables, including the vowels.

Cuneiform writing is a little bit older – it was invented by the ancient Sumerians around 3500 B.C.E. Cuneiform script began as picture writing, but its symbols rapidly evolved into abstract shapes that, in most cases, bore no resemblance to any actual object. The cuneiform writing system was then picked up and widely used by the Mesopotamian speakers of Semitic languages unrelated to Sumerian -- the language of the Babylonians and Assyrians, called "Akkadian" by modern scholars. From there it spread further and was used to write other languages - especially Elamite and Hittite.

Hieroglyphic writing was invented by the ancient Egyptians around 3200 B.C.E. and was only used by Egypt. Egyptian hieroglyphs remained recognizable pictures throughout the 3500 year history of the script.

The winners are: Mohamed Elssayed abd Elraheim from Elsharkya, Egypt; Rajia Khatun from Kurigram, Bangladesh, and three RFI Listeners Club members: Behzad Payandeh from Tehran, Iran; Henry Ngum Zong from Bamenda, Cameroon, and Ibrahim Umar Abdulkarim from Kano, Nigeria.

Both Henry Ngum Zong and Ibrahim Umar Abdulkarim sent their answers via text to the Sound Kitchen mobile phone … you can do that too! Just dial + 33 6 31 12 96 82 and start typing!

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program:Carla Bruni: “Little French Song”.

This week’s question: You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 29 May to enter this week's quiz. The winners will be announced on the 3 June program. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize click here

To find out how you can become a member of the RFI Listeners Club, or to form your own official RFI Club click here

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