Got this through the Cypherpunk list...
BYU Death of writing systems linked to viability of civilizations
...which links writing systems and alphabets with the civilisations that supported them (or vice versa) - interesting to think that the way we communicate could be so heavily defined by the upper ruling echelons of the society we live in, much like "Queen's English" as a "standard", imposed by those who wrote the dictionaries.
I now love stuff like this for the context into which it puts our own civilisation, and the things such as language that we really take for granted. Must look into the histories of languages more.