Ideographic Writing

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ideographic Writing


a writing system in which the characters(ideograms) signify neither sounds nor syllables (as in

Figure 1

phonetic or syllabic writing) but rather whole words or significant parts of words (morphemes). Ideographic writing is one of the most ancient forms of writing; the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian systems were largely ideographic (see Figure 1). Chinese hieroglyphics developed this form of writing to the greatest extent. Systems of ideographic writing have always been distinguished by their extreme complexity; therefore, most nations have replaced ideographic systems with simpler phonetic or syllabic systems.


Istrin, V. A. Vozniknovenie i razvitie pis’ma. Moscow, 1965.
Dieringer, D. Alfavit. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Phonetic alphabets purify or separate language from the sensual world in which oral language and ideographic writing participate, and in which a more "balanced," synesthetic "interplay of the senses" occurs.
Based on the Chinese ideographic writing, Bliss entails pictographic and ideographic symbols, which initially aimed to build up a system of universal writing [6].
Setting aside the case of ideographic writing systems, which would need a study of their own, one generally proceeds along a scale from an interlanguage based on one's sounding-out of the new language according to one's preconceptions (likely to be based on L1) through progressively more accurate forms of interlanguage until one reaches the limit of one's proficiency or inclination to learn.
The board endorsed the IDNC Working Group Report to expand the world's Domain Name System and to work on adapting it to accommodate Country Code Top Level Domain Names (ccTLDs) in scripts other than Latin, such as Arabic or Devnagri and ideographic writing systems, such as Japanese.
However, the author's contrast of these ways of thinking with what he believes is the more holistic communication style that Chinese ideographic writing supposedly fosters seems a lot more problematic.
(10) Ideographic writing for amutu "liver"/"omen"; see CAD A/II, 96.
Hence Dreyer interpreted a few of these signs as genuine ideographic writing, standing for inscriptions with phonetic values (in contrast to mere pictographs representing concrete objects).
Master Thompson sez: "The Ejagham [of Nigeria and Cameroun] developed a unique form of ideographic writing, signs representing ideas and called Nsibidi, signs embodying many powers, including all that is valiant, just and ordered.
The other is the historical occasions when some Western thinkers were drawn to Chinese ideographic writing. One of these historical encounters is represented by Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound at the turn of the century who regarded Chinese characters as totally unphonological, a script which is not reducible to sound, but is vivid, ideographic expression of human conception of things and notions, and therefore is a most suitable medium for poetry.