Phonetic Picture-Writing:   Frequent Questions

What is phonetic picture-writing?

A phonetic picture-writing is a picture-writing, which is also a phonetic writing.
For  it's  ideograms  are  composed  out  of  special  letters.
(Also a composition of the ideograms out of syllable signs is possible)

How is an ideogram developed?

One tries to portray an object as well as possible by a string of letters.

Should the user develop ideograms?

No. The ideograms are standardized. But of course everybody may try to find better ideograms, or design faces or figures just for fun: millions of faces can be formed, only few of them are defined ideograms (words).

Why is the writing direction vertical?

Most things (faces, men, trees, houses) have a vertical symmetry axis. One can portrait these things well by a vertical row of side-symmetrical, simple letters out of lines of one type (vertical, horizontal, slanting, curved)
But if one wanted to compose faces or trees by a horizontal string of signs, one would need a voluminous font with often asymmetrical, complicated signs (e.g. horizontal + vertical line, or horizontal + curved line), which often gives bader ideograms. That show the following 2 examples, 2 stylized faces, which we dissect into signs (indicated by gray rectangles) one time vertically and one time horizontally

Because of the vertical writing direction it's also possible to "compose" a man out of some words (ideograms).   We show again the example of the main article:

This example is pronounced
   ani amimipi ela  
and  means:
"legs,  (over it)  cape,  (over it)  face"
"There is a standing man,  with cape,  his face is visible."

Smaller advantages of vertical writing: One can read vertical text on the back of books, on piles and trunks without turning one's head, also text in mirror-writing (your own T-shirt in the mirror, in rear-view mirror text on cars and signs) or on the other side of a glass-pane.

Why is the writing direction upwards and not downwards?

If writing upwards, all columns of a picture (which may have different height) start at the same base-line. So to speak, their lower ends represent the surface of earth. Thus it's possible to show men, trees, houses one beneath the other on the same level. The pictures so give a more natural impression than if all columns would start from a top line and wouldn't end at the same base line.

Another reason: on a traffic sign the names of towns should be listed by distance, the next town first (thus down, when writing upwards). With the names one above the other, this sign is a perspectively corrcet picture: "foreground = near area" (like with a lying list or lying map).

One speaks "forward", and this corresponds well with the forward writing-direction of a lying text (resulting from the upward writing direction of a standing text). Speach and writing so have the same direction.   This parallelity also makes sense when reading, for one speaks a text silent in the mind when reading

Another small advantage: A teacher can show columns, instead by writing them on a table, by superimposing boxes each with a letter at the front side, parallel to pronouncing the column.
Also: One writes from bottom to top, like a plant is growing

Why are the columns written from left to right, not vice versa?

For practical reasons. If one would write the second column to the left of the first column, the hand would cover (and maybe smear) the first column.

Does phonetic picture-writing need more space than other writings?

No, for 2 reasons. First: the simple letters can be very reduced in size. Second: the space, which is left because columns are of different height, would be necessary in other languages / writings for words like "above (it)", "beside (it)", "there is", "is standing" or articles like "the", "an" etc.

What is a phonetic picture language?

The artificial language, which results when pictures of phonetic picture-writing are read acoustically. Normally, with the word "phonetic picture-writing", we mean both, the writing and the speech defined by it.

Is it necessary to visualize the ideograms when speaking?

No. It's even possible to learn the phonetic picture language without knowing that it forms pictures, when it's written with special letters. But with some words, one should know the alignment of the object (a mouse has its head at the lower end of the ideogram, not at the upper end), to be able to choose the sequence of words so, that the written words (ideograms) show a scene as true as possible (e.g. "grain mouse", not "mouse grain" = "mouse has it's snout at the corn").

Is the phonetic picture-writing / language practicable?

Yes. It's a complete language and writing. But on this web site, there's not the full dictionary and the full grammar.

How many versions of phonetic picture-writing exist?

The number of possible phonetic picture-writings is nearly unlimited, like with other languages and writings. They differ in the basic principle (letter writing, syllable writing, position writing) and in signs, sounds, attachment of sounds to signs, dictionary (often, to portray a thing, more than one good ideogram is possible), maybe also in grammar.

Which version is the best?

A difficult question.  Supposely rather a syllable writing than a letter writing.

How is an image (sentence) formed?

One tries to represent a scene as well as possible by ideograms. This is done by writing column beside column. An image mostly consists of several columns with several words (ideograms)

Is the grammar of phonetic picture-writing difficult?

No. It's mostly an optical grammar, that is you place things in a sentence so above and beside each other as you see them (or imagine them).     grammar

When hearing a text, how can I recognize
the beginning of an image or a column?

Before each image (sentence), a not written short word (meaning "beginning of new image") is spoken, before the 2. and each further column another not written short word ("beginning of new column").

Can I exercise the optical grammar also in my mother language?

Yes. Example: The english sentence "There's a tree with the sun over it, to the right of it there's a house, to the right of it a man". When formed with english words, but using the optical grammar, it sounds so: "There tree, above sun, beside house, beside man".
"There" is the word marking the beginning of a sentence (the beginning of it's first column), "beside" is the word marking the beginning of another column following the first one(s).

Can the optical grammar also be used with abstracts?

Yes. Movement is shown as trail(s) or draft of air, sounds and speech as sound waves, thinking as think-waves or -bubbles, etc. Nearly all so called abstract things have a physical quality and extension in space, but only mystical people can see that.

Is phonetic picture-writing fit for a computer?

Yes. If the letters are available as a font, it's not more complicated than english writing. (Download option at the end of the main article)

How many keys does a computer need for phonetic picture-writing?

There are no additional keys necessary. But a computer, which is intended to understand only phonetic picture-writing, needs only as many keys as the phonetic picture-writing has sounds (and a space key and a return key): because numerals, special signs etc. are composed out of letters, they are normal words of phonetic picture-writing. E.g. 16 keys may be enough, they may be aranged as 4*4 matrix on a mouse.

Can phonetic picture-writing be regarded as a painting course?

Yes. With it, you quickly can make a small but well informing sketch of a scene or fact. (Without it, nearly nobody could do so). Also coloured sketches and 3D paper- and computer-models can be made quickly.

What are the advantages of phonetic picture-writing?

Visuability, quick catching or surveying of a text, much fun. The clear phonetic system makes the language easy to learn and makes possible automatic speech recognizing (syllable by syllable). Also the logical structure and the optical grammar make the language easy to learn.

How old is phonetic picture-writing?

It's know since the antiquity. Hints for that are citations of antique writers, a word was a "picture of the thing", and the book "Kratylos or about the correctness of words" of the antique Greek writer Platon. Final proofs are the pictures encoded in texts of the antique writer Pliny (Plinius) by the letters of the phonetic picture-writing.

Is there a copyright for phonetic picture-writing?

No. The use etc. (also the development of a new phonetic picture-writing) is free for everybody.

     update:   2013 - 7 - 17