“A new language is going to be a language of icons, it’s going to be graphics.” Timothy Leary

This is a system of ideograms for English.  I call them “neoideograms” or “ids” for short.

I have a “dictionary” that covers about 6 thousand words.   For many of the words I use ideograms for Latin and Greek roots, so there are far fewer than 6 thousand separate ideogams.

I have transcribed quite a bit of English prose into them and use them for my diary and for notes.

I draw from everyday observed images,  conventions, my imagination, and minorly from hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, symbolic logic, and the computer world. I have tried to make them simple and efficient, such that the more frequently used the word, the simpler the id. In the interest of efficiency I have even “cheated,” using something that looks like an F for “for” and “force,” something that looks like an E for energy, a T and an F for true and false, etc.  I have also tried to make them expressive: I want them to feel like what they are, so I don’t mind them being cartoonish. Sometimes I fail at this and resort to a cold “analyd”–an id comprised of analytic elements that tell a little story or just give a few elements to represent the many meanings of a word.    Many are  “mixids” that have both direct and etymological aspects, and some are “sonids” with a “sounds like” element.

They are art.  I’d love to see others’ improvements and original creations!

They are open-ended and incomplete.  Each word and idea presents a puzzle to be solved — how to depict it graphically.  I feel that I have come up with many good solutions, but have often been stumped. Some ids I’ve been dissatisfied with for years before finally hitting on something I like.

They sometimes transcend ordinary language:  I’ll make an id, perhaps the “graphic opposite” of another one, and think, “oh, we don’t have a word for that.”

I  use regular letters to show the endings of words just as hiragana is used along with kanji in Japanese.

They add a rich creative new dimension to my life and mind.  Making new ids for ideas improves my grasp of the ideas and my ability to work with them.  I tend to think more in terms of clear diagrams.

They are a means of becoming more creatively conscious of language and of  graphically redefining  words and ideas.

5 Responses to About

  1. Dear Ernie,
    friendly evening greetings to you from


  2. Timothy Pike says:

    This is fascinating!


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