Writing Forms and Communication

Over the years man has developed various forms of writing to convey information or messages. The forms include pictographic, ideographic, logographic, phonographic and alphabetic. Pictographic form of writing is where drawings or symbols are used for illustration. Drawings are used to express or transmit ideas. This form of writing has been in existence for a long time and it is thought to be the oldest or earliest. Drawings or graphical representations made resemble the person, object or item that the actually represent. (Liungman C, 2004). Pictogram are used as a mode of writing in some parts of the world for instance in some culture in Africa and America.

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In the contemporary society they are used as signs or to give instructions. Areas where they are mostly used include public toilets, train and bus stations, airports, phone booths, coffee shops and bus stops. Interpretation of these signs is however not universal as different cultures place varying meaning to similar objects. Similar signs can consequently attain varying meaning. However some signs or symbols are universally recognized for instance the chemical hazard labels.

Ideographic form of writing entails the use of a sign that has no relationship with the sound produced. It uses abstract symbols that have no appearance similarities to the object in question. The sign take the place of the entire word. It indirectly represents the idea that is being communicated. (Liungman C, 2004). In general this form of writing uses graphic symbols to represent ideas or objects. Single written forms of morphemes are used. Examples of this form include the Chinese as well as some forms of the Japanese.

Logographic forms of writing use symbols to represent words in language. They include the Egyptian hieroglyphic and some forms of the Chinese. The symbol used has a close relationship with the object or item in question. One of its advantages is that one must not be well conversant with a certain language to understand what a symbol correctly means. It is therefore very effective in areas where language barriers hinder effective communication. Logograms are signs or symbols and they include $, %, #and &.

Phonographic form of writing uses signs that have a relationship or that are attached to the sound or objects or items in question name. Objects are a given name that sounds like them or the sound has some significance or linkage to them. The earlier Englishmen used this form of writing. For instance in naming the ewe. Again some animals were named with respect to their features for instance the owl in Egypt named Mer because it had an M shape on its forehead. (victorian.fortunecity.com)

An alphabet is a set of written symbols that represent specific or distinct type of sound. Each alphabet represents a consonant or a vowel or a set of vowels. The alphabetic form or writing uses alphabets to convey information or to communicate. This form of writing varies depending on the language used. (Haarmann H, 1990). Hebrew varies from English as the two have differing rules and guidelines governing them. It is the latest form of development in writing and has made a great impact in communication today. On learning the alphabets people can easily communicate across the globe. However the alphabetical form of writing hinders the spontaneity of communication where one is not well conversant with the used language. For instance between one who knows Hebrew in an English dominated area may have to take time learning English.


Fortune city. 2007. Pictograms and Logograms. Web.

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Harald Haarmann. 1990. Language in Its Cultural Embedding: Explorations in the Relativity of Signs. Culture and Semiotic models. Walter de Gruyter Publishers.

Carl Liungman. 2004. Symbols Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms. Ionfox AB Publishers.

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