Fourth in the five-part series. Writing is a relative latecomer to the history of language. Its emergence in Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica and its spread down through the millennia via conquest-usually violent, sometimes benign-and colonization is tracked. The creation of creoles and pidgins resulting from the interaction of specific populations is also addressed, and speculation is made about the first things to be written down. Noam Chomsky; the Manhattan Institute's John McWhorter; MIT's Michel DeGraff; the University of Chicago's Salikoko Mufwene; and Peter Daniels, coeditor of "The World's Writing Systems," contribute. Accessibility options on the DVD are: (1) audio description, (2) expanded audio description, (3) English SDH subtitles, (4) closed captions.