Ideogram


Ideogram

An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek polytonic|ἰδέα idea "idea" + polytonic|γράφω grafo "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea, rather than a group of letters arranged according to the phonemes of a spoken language, as is done in alphabetic languages, or a strictly representational picture of a subject as may be done in illustration or photography.

Examples of ideograms include wayfinding signs, such as in airports and other environments where many people may not be familiar with the language of the place they are in, as well as Arabic numerals and mathematical notation, which are used worldwide regardless of how they are pronounced in different languages.

The term "ideogram" is commonly, albeit incorrectly, used to describe logographic writing systems such as Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese characters. Despite this label, graphemes in logographic systems represent specific words or morphemes in the target language, rather than pure ideas.

Young people (Y-generation) are using more and more emoticons in instant messaging to represent concepts and sometimes phonemes.

Terminological objections

There is a common misconception that Chinese characters exist separately from spoken language, representing pure ideas which can be determined from their shape. This has led to many attempts to abandon the name "ideogram" in favour of a term that more accurately represents their morphemic (and often phonetic) nature: that is, that they represent words and syllables, not ideas. One alternative is logogram, from the Greek roots logos ("word") and grapho ("to write"). Others include Sinogram, emphasising the Chinese origin of the characters, and Han character, a literal translation of the native term. These terms have gained some currency among scholars, but have failed to spread into common usage. The native terms (Chinese hanzi, Japanese kanji) are also fairly widespread in the contexts of the individual languages, but they are not generally considered suitable for discussion of the script as a whole.

True ideographic systems:

*Blissymbols
*Formal languages such as mathematical notation, logic, UML, computer languages
*Hobo signs - American hoboes
*Sioux and Ojibwa pictographs

ee also

*Asemic Writing
* Energy Systems Language
* Icon (computing)
* Lexigram
* Logotype
* Sona language
* Traffic sign
* Isotype (pictograms)

References

*DeFrancis, John. 1990. "The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy". Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1068-6
*Hannas, William. C. 1997. "Asia's Orthographic Dilemma". University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1892-X (paperback); ISBN 0-8248-1842-3 (hardcover)
*Unger, J. Marshall. 2003. "Ideogram: Chinese Characters and the Myth of Disembodied Meaning". ISBN 0-8248-2760-0 (trade paperback), ISBN 0-8248-2656-6 (hardcover)

External links

* [http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm?ContentAlias=symbolsigns AIGA Symbol Signs] Common US ideograms.
* [http://www.bartleby.com/61/9/I0020900.html American Heritage Dictionary definition]
* [http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9360623 Encyclopedia Britannica online entry]
* [http://www.slackaction.com/signroll.htm Hobo Signs]
* [http://www.pinyin.info/readings/texts/ideographic_myth.html The Ideographic Myth] Extract from DeFrancis' book.
* [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/ideogram Merriam-Webster OnLine definition]
* [http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/native/sign/pictographs.htm Ojibwa and Sioux pictographs]

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  • Ideogram — I*de o*gram, n. [Ideo + gram; cf. F. id[ e]ograme.] 1. An original, pictorial element of writing; a kind of hieroglyph expressing no sound, but only an idea. [1913 Webster] Ideograms may be defined to be pictures intended to represent either… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ideògram — m 1. {{001f}}grafički znak ili slika koji označuje neki pojam neovisno o glasovnoj građi riječi, tj. o odnosu glasova i slova (npr. u matematici oznake +, – itd.); u ovome rječniku ✧ kao oznaka za postanje riječi 2. {{001f}}u najstarijim… …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • ideogram — (n.) 1838, from comb. form of Gk. idea (see IDEA (Cf. idea)) + GRAM (Cf. gram) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ideogram — ideògram m DEFINICIJA 1. grafički znak ili slika koji označuje neki pojam neovisno o glasovnoj građi riječi, tj. o odnosu glasova i slova (npr. u matematici oznake +, itd., u ovome rječniku kao oznaka za postanje riječi) 2. u najstarijim… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • ideogram — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. ideogrammie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} umowny znak pisarski, nieskładający się z liter, oznaczający pojęcie : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Chińskie ideogramy. {{/stl 10}} …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • ideogram — ► NOUN ▪ a character symbolizing the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it (e.g. a numeral) …   English terms dictionary

  • ideogram — [id′ē ō gram΄, id′ē əgram΄; ī′dēō gram΄, ī′dēə gram΄] n. [ IDEO + GRAM] 1. a graphic symbol representing an object or idea without expressing, as in a phonetic system, the sounds that form its name 2. a symbol representing an idea rather than a… …   English World dictionary

  • ideogram — m IV, D. u, Ms. ideogrammie; lm M. y «umowny znak pisemny (symbol), który jako całość stanowi odpowiednik desygnatu, wyraża określone pojęcie; nie daje się rozłożyć na elementy odpowiadające cząstkom fonetycznym wyrazu» Ideogram obrazkowy,… …   Słownik języka polskiego

  • ideogram — [[t]ɪ̱dioʊgræm[/t]] ideograms 1) N COUNT An ideogram is a sign or symbol that represents a particular idea or thing rather than a word. The writing systems of Japan and China, for example, use ideograms. 2) N COUNT In languages such as English… …   English dictionary


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