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Alphabet Effect Theory

alphabet effect theory

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The promoters of ‘Alphabet effect’ such as Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, Walter Ong and Robert Logan were associated with Toronto School of Communication. Using these theory cognitive skills such as

  • Abstraction
  • Analysis
  • Coding
  • Decoding
  • Classification

are promoted and encouraged. It is also believed that the alphabets traces back to the ancient civilisations of Greek and Sumerians sharing a narrow geographical area supporting its origin.

Alphabet Effect Theory

The alphabet effect is an effect theory which analyses how the language is influenced due to the effect of written alphabets. Through various analyses on the alphabet effect theory have resulted that the larger affluence of symbols needed an immense level of abstraction which was essential for interpreting the alphabetic system. It can be taken that the level of abstraction increased so is the cognitive advancement of its users.

The cognitive development that is accompanied as the increased abstraction creates an impact in spreading westernisation ignoring the other nation’s beliefs which enables new levels of abstraction, analysis, classification of ideas etc. As a result the development of these skills enabled to the development of individualism and conceptual science.

Related: What is communication?

The early transfer of knowledge took place after the invention of alphabets. The science and inventions which were popularised by some of the powerful countries of the history did not become widespread till the foundation of alphabets. This foundation of alphabets enabled transmission of information until the westernisation made an impact on alphabet such as

  • The invention of decimal numbers and zero
  • As a means to use alphabets as a language to express themselves
  • As a medium to express the emotions and feelings supporting the images

Before the invention of alphabets, people relied on Oral teachings which were disseminated by the leader of the society. The introduction of alphabets has enabled a democracy where the people can enjoy literacy in spite of their differences.

Eventually, the gap differentiating people has also reduced.  The invention of alphabet paved the way to write and thus preserve the information that can be passed on to the future. This theory is one of the major milestones of in the history that has helped us to critically analyse this topic further.


The alphabet needs a logical explanation that defines the perspective of culture and its language system. Alphabets hold the importance of language communities, with language that is used by one community can also be distributed to communities which is then utilised.


Today, the modern technology became the base for the existence to the people. Even the culture is built up on the platform where an amalgamation / incorporate with technology into our lifestyle can be observed. The whole process can be viewed in a way that the alphabet enables the people to empathise more on the world which they live in and also the alphabet effect theory can be utilised by the developers to come up with innovations enabling a better living.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Khaled Alyami December 28, 2019, 7:00 pm

    Thank you

  • Rifat January 17, 2022, 6:37 pm

    Hi, can you explain in more detail regarding the alphabet effect theory in terms of its element and how to apply it in form of a group? I need it for my assignment. Thankyou

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