Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language
Pictographs / The Origin of all Characters
Chinese and Western characters both derived from pictographs. Traffic signs are pictographs. They express a complex meaning by a picture (Greek “picto” = picture and “graph” = sign). Pictographs can be understood throughout all languages.
(retrieved 12.01.2013 at http://www.nps.gov/nhl/DOE_dedesignations/graphics/SRRPSpictographs.JPG)
Asian characters are called logographs (deriving from Greek “logos” = meaning and “graph” = sign). These characters are not necessarily linked directly to their pronunciation.
The separation of meaning and pronunciation allows different languages to use the same set of characters.
Te character for “Bird” ist still similar in Chinese as well as in Japanese:
鳥 traditional Chinese
Chinese character for door (men2) It looks like a symbol for a door with movable hinges on the left side.
During the times, the pictographs changed the shape. This is the character for sun (ri4).
Development of Chinese Characters
Retrieved 08.01.2011 from http://blog.chinesehour.com/?p=589
More info about Chinese Language in here.
Western characters are called phonographs (Greek “phono” = sound and graph=sign). They show the spelling but do not represent the meaning. A foreign reader may pronounce a word, but not understand the meaning. The English word “Hut” has a very different meaning in German language (“Hat”).
Western Characters also derived from pictographs. The European Phoenicians (1000 – 500 BC) used the first types of characters as we still have now.
D for “Dalet”, which means Door (looks like the triangle entrance of a tent)
A for “Aleph”, which means Ox (looks like two horns or a plow)
Development of the Phoenician alphabet
Development of the Greek Alphabeth
Development of the Latin Alphabet
Western Mathematics is based on Arabic Numerals