- Phonographic writing systems, by definition, use symbols to represent components of auditory language, i.e. speech, which in turn refers to things or ideas. The two main kinds of phonographic notational system are the alphabet and syllabary. Some written languages are more consistent in their correlation of written symbol or grapheme and sound or phoneme, and are therefore considered to have better phonemic orthography.
- Ideographic writing, by definition, refers to things or ideas independently of their pronunciation in any language. All of the notational systems listed below are ideographic. Some ideographic systems are also pictograms that convey meaning through their pictorial resemblance to a physical object.
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“I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.”
—Gaston Bachelard (18841962)