Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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dimensional profiling by typeface

Modern hieroglyphics for man and machine
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In an extension to earlier [link] thoughts on hieroglyphics' potential modern universality, I propose their use as an effective shorthand for conveying dimensional information, via the use of a scaleable font like Dingbats.

For example, the croissants and fishbones seen on this website display something akin to approval and disapproval of concepts. Being two directions of one dimension, one character really would suffice (shall we say the croissant, since my glass is half-full tonight) so that a stonkingly fine idea would get a beautifully detailed size 25 croissant, whereas a proper clunker would get the same size croissant in complete black. A meritless musing would sport the smallest of croissants, if any.

While we all know the value of a bun at this website it may not be a universally recognised symbol of approbation, so I propose the establishment of UNDI (United Nations Dingbats Institute) to develop and promulgate the character set, and who will surely bring a wise, stately and dignified understanding to development of the language.

Dictionaries of all current languages could be amended to display the appropriate icon(s) next to nouns, adjectives and verbs. I envisage that adjectives and pronouns would have one, verbs one at most and nouns perhaps one main icon plus explanatory ancillaries. Dimensional information in English is largely conveyed by adjective and modifier and this will be reflected in the iconography. The adjective "akimbo" for example, would be portrayed by two legs, and walking, running and other activities could all be denoted by varying degrees of akimbo-ness.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, each icon will have an associated code, and there will be opportunities for aged hackers like myself to learn the UNDI codes and amuse small crowds at parties.

Conversations with people who do not speak our own mother tongues will be greatly simplified - either by pointing at icons in a pocket version of the aforementioned dictionary, or, for those who know their UNDI codes, writing down columns of numbers and their positive or negative multipliers.

Combinations of symbols would produce dimensionality, as well as concise precision: a large fish, small chimney, large oil rig and medium sized chile pod would almost certainly mean lightly smoked mackerel with peppercorns.

The symbology would not always be obvious: any real pelagic fish would always need a large fish icon irrespective of its size, since fishiness is the dimension to be portayed. A medium fish would be more suited for taramasalata, say, or the way my cat smells. Absence of fish is no fish at all; yet disappointingly I can't see a requirement for negative fish of any size. Perhaps the UNDI will investigate and find some other use for these wasteful semi-redundant icons.

Some symbols could be politely used in the negative only: a large upstanding middle finger could never be seen as a recommendation; except in silhouette, where of course it would signify high praise indeed.

I hope this website will be one of the first to be enabled to display the subtle flavours of thought which as yet cannot be easily conveyed from brain to keyboard, but which this technology will allow. See what I mean: ":-)" How lame was that?

james_what, Apr 09 2008

Hieroglyphics Universal Translator Hieroglyphics_20Universal_20Translator
[james_what, Apr 09 2008]


       Perhaps one further step would use animation as well: a whole character set to replace chinese, but re-drawn and animated.
Ling, Apr 09 2008


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