Pictograph (Media Studies)

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  • Stylized pictures of objects that form an essential part of public communications— for example, the sign of a jagged arrow as a danger sign for live voltage. Emoticons, such as smiley faces, indicate the popular use of iconographic script in electronic text messages. Because they transcend individual languages (speakers of different languages will equally understand the message), pictographs (or pictograms) are not strictly a writing system, although it was from pictographs that written language largely developed. The critical change occurred when a script moved from denoting things— pictographic script—to denoting sounds (syllables and letters)—phonetic script. This change occurred gradually as pictures became conventionalized and simplified to such a degree that the original referent could no longer be recognized from the conventionalized markers. Those markers came ...

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