Notes on Intercultural Communication

Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language

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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.

pictograph 4 riders Saddle Rock Ranch

(retrieved 12.01.2013 at http://www.nps.gov/nhl/DOE_dedesignations/graphics/SRRPSpictographs.JPG)
(Pictrograph from Saddle Rock Ranch Pictograph Site in California USA)

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Logographs

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:

traditional Chinese

simplified Chinese

Japanese

More Logographs

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).

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Development of Chinese Characters

Retrieved 08.01.2011 from http://blog.chinesehour.com/?p=589

More info about Chinese Language in here.

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Phonographs

 

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 meaningThe 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.

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D for “Dalet”, which means Door (looks like the triangle entrance of a tent)PhoenicianD-01

A for “Aleph”, which means Ox (looks like two horns or a plow)

A

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Development of the Phoenician alphabet

200px-Phoenician_alphabet.svg

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Development of the Greek Alphabeth

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 Development of the Latin Alphabet

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Western Mathematics is based on Arabic Numerals

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(reviewed 07.10.2016)

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  1. […] About Chinese and Western Characters please visit Logographs and Phonographs – Visualisation of Language […]


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