Various methods and ideas for thinking and communication in history

This page has been since 1997, mainly 2001, additions: Jan. 2005

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Gesture/Body expression/Sign
Vocal communication
Picture and Pictograph
Arrow mark, Geometric shape, Map, Graph and Mathematical notation
Counting strings
Hand signs
Phonetic writings( including I.P.A. and the Braille )
Chinese writing system / The Ideograph
The Metric system
Links recomended by EL Cid
(including about 'English waning,' interesting and unique local communication ways, the Morse code and Solresol)

Researching the Human Genome, they say that all present humans are very close; and perhaps started from a family in Africa. But taking a hundred thousands years in different locations on the earth, their cultures and the languages have diversified; now communication difficulties happen among them.

Humans are social animals; and can't survive without communication. In the beginning era, how did people make a mutual understanding? Looking back at the ways and taking their wisdom would help to build natural EL. Because the ways work even now when a language is useless. My proposal for the concrete EL system is referred to the primitive methods and ideas of main writing/communication systems worldwide.

Gesture/Body expression/Sign

The earliest humankind weren't developed enough for speaking organs; they could not speak like present people. Gorillas and Chimps use many gestures. In the earlier human era, gestures must be the most useful method for telling about directions, movements/speed/characters/emotion/events by pretending/imitating something expressively.

After developing vocal languages, people haven't used gestures so much, and yet their bodies sometimes move automatically when trying to express these matters strongly. If a body language system is close to the natural movement, it would be commonly usable. Around the tenth century, the monks in Benedict's Monastery developed the gesture system naturally for their communication method while practicing silent asceticism. Now many workers in construction sites use body signs created by each group's needs to send message to visible others in a far distance or in laud noises.

Vocal communication

Emotional / Warning voice:
A voice naturally comes out with a strong emotion . Through experiences, people could guess a situation through an emotional voice. Because of the nature, some elemental vocal sounds might psychologically effect to common feelings, just like colors do.

A voice can be sent in the darkness or an invisible situation such as in a jungle. Making a voice/sound for getting other's attentions or warning had to be important to survive for people. They might start distinguishing the kinds of warning voices by the case/matter. To tell "be silent", somehow people commonly make a sound included [ s ], also the words which means "silent" often includes [ s ] worldwide. Searching roots of languages might help to build a natural vocal common language. But the future world looks too noisy and fast for feeling the original voices, also not that simple to follow it.

For Conducting:
  Voice can make rhythm related to time. This nature of voice has been useful for conducting a group to do something together such as carrying heavy things, pounding rice, rowing a boat etc.; this had to be very important to build cooperation. These kinds of vocal traditions are handed down for a long time as local calls/labor songs, easing each individual heart by the long term links. Each culture chose the matched sound and rhythm for itself at the beginning of language. Drums and percussion were used too as the extension of voice, reaching to a far distance, sometimes distinguishing many directions by the rhythm.

Vocal mimics:
Imitating a sound with voice, one could urge others to imagine it. Many names of birds seem to have come from this custom in many languages, though the expressions were different depending on the standards of their sounds.
A baby makes limited kinds of consonants like [ m ], [ p ], [ t ], [ d ], because they don't have teeth yet; the terms close to a baby were called following babies' expressions, as mom, dad, papa, pee, etc.

Vocal Language:
Usually Language means the vocal method to think and communicate; all cultures have both. A new baby has no measurement to think; it becomes a human experiencing its environment and being educated in the human way of its society. The environment and the ways are different according to the locations of the earth and their traditional lifestyles . e.g. even the color image of 'the sun' is not in one way: red, yellow, orange, white .., they feel it in many ways; pronunciations of the words have even more varieties.

Each culture has different vocal standards (phonemes or syllables) and syntax traditionally. Since a hearing system is set in selected sounds of each language, it is hard to memorize another language, also hard to use it with an unfamiliar sequence for {S. V. O.} in each sentence. Also when they don't use the second language in their daily lives, they forget it easily. All Mother-tongues are as important as Mother for each person's identity, and no traditional vocal languages can equally provide worldwide communications.

Voice is a kind of thing which is immediately gone away. Strictly speaking, a vocal language changes the expression for each time with the emotional background, also words and the system change in time influenced by other cultures. Because of this changeable nature, vocal languages are alive and attractive, creating dialects and slang terms easily.

In many cultures when people were illiterate, they believed that a voiced word had its spiritual power. Then they were afraid to tell a lie: a spoken language was used to be spiritually much stronger until the written system took over a society.

Picture and Pictograph

Records of any oldest cultures are seen by concrete drawing/painting of images. By this method, you can catch messages with the painters' artistic senses and hearts from even thousands of years ago.

For recording more contents conveniently, simplified pictures were set symbolizing things, as Egyptian hieroglyphs or Sumerian Pictography. In the beginning of many languages, usually a main root word had only a syllable, so a symbol was also diverted to representing 'the syllable' separated from the thing. Then hieroglyphs could record sounds of names too.

A total image of many elements can be caught immediately at once visually, but not aurally. So even now simplified pictures are used for signboards, marks, in maps, computer icons etc.

Arrow mark, Geometric shape, Map, Graph and Mathematical notation

An arrow shape commonly shows a direction to go as well as pointing by hand. Also a way to turn/move can be shown by a drawn/painted sign. A geometric shape such as circle, line, dot, triangle psychologically stimulates us into some common way, unless being prejudiced about it through experiences.

A map to show locations and relations of individual things/spots gives the totally clear image for a short time for what you need a long explanation in words. Also circle/bar/straight line graphs helps to grasp the totality quickly.

Numerals and mathematical notations: such as 0, 1, 5, -, +, = are now used almost worldwide. Each of those notations provides the same definition to all users, even though people read it in each language vocally. People feel that the notations are parts of their own culture, since they handle them with their native tongue . A universal language must be like this; must not be felt like a foreign language.

Counting strings

Strings had to be an unforgettable tool for counting, thinking and recording or sending a message far away as the beginning of 'a letter' before writing systems. Since the materials were strings, the records did not remain so long. But the native peoples in American and African continents and Pacific islands had kept the custom until recently; also in the West, Greek historian, Herodotus and in the East, Lao-zi respectfully wrote about the ancient usage of the strings.

To start agriculture, counting days to observe seasons is the the very base. Piling stones/branches to count is not stable for a long term; ropes/strings were the best tool to combine materials for a creation in that era. It would be natural to use the way for thinking by combining elements. They tied ropes/strings, symbolizing something by each size, length, amount, color and amount/type of knots or pierced and tied shells, and recorded a message. They could send a message by this way or restore a record and thought about it later.  Although others can't get the meanings if they don't know the rules of the symbols, as well as vocal languages, because these symbols are mostly abstract.

Hand signs

As main parts of gestures or simplified gestures, hand signs are useful still now, when voice is unavailable. Various hand-sign systems have been developed in history.

For deaf/mute people
Catholic monks developed hand signs for deaf/mute people from their traditional gestures adding signs for Alphabets. The custom spread widely, and current sign languages are mostly for deaf/mute people. But since the signs were separately developed in each language and also general people usually don't use them, the handicapped users can hardly communicate with people in the same situation in other cultures and even with their neighbors. They have to learn words using vocal bases without hearing ability. By this way, they can never get away from being in a minority situation. There is the international sign language by the traditional way too, but the vocabularies are not enough for a modern life.

For a communication between cultures
One needs more energy for signs than speaking, so most peoples have forgotten the traditional signs after developing words. But native Americans had kept the way as their universal language until the newcomers destroyed it. *Many early pioneers in the North American continent after Columbus left notes which said how they were impressed to be helped by the universal sign language wherever they went. ( *'Indian Sign Language' William Tomkins )

The native peoples respected a traditional speaking word among each other, believing that it had spiritual power in itself, and they kept the old communication signs for universal usage instead of using a speaking language of one strong tribe. As the result they could keep coexistence of more than a thousand different languages and their colorful cultures without big wars for a long time.

As artistic usage:
  In Eastern Indian dance, Kathakali, they ordered the face muscles for nine kinds of emotion, 24 patterns of hand for basic codes to show more than 500 vocabularies by these combinations. So audiences who know the rule can get messages and stories through the dance without any speech.
If general people in the world share a common sign language, the fruits would be large, making everybody including deaf/mute people free for mutual understanding, and give them joy to create/enjoy new body arts.

Phonetic Writings

For phonetic function
The Sinai alphabet was made arranged from the Egyptian hieroglyph for the Semitic script. It showed only consonants because consonants have priority over vowels in Semitic language. Phoenicians spread the idea widely. Then Arabic and Indian writing systems began with consonant/syllable bases. The Hebrew Script and the Arabic Script kept their old styles for a long time by their religious reasons. Hebrew, Arabic and early Indian Brahmi Scripts were written from the right to the left. Since Greek used vowels independently, they fixed their Alphabet for their standard phonemes; the writing direction was gradually settled in from the left to the right. The European writings followed the Greek and Latin alphabet, rearranging the alphabet to fit to each own phonetic standard. They use ABC.. in the same shapes but with a little different name and reading for each from others. They have used additional codes, if there were not enough amounts of alphabets in their standard vowels and consonants.

Phonetic writings can be done naturally while imagining to speak it, if the system matches to the pronunciation. But while cultures change influenced each other, the phonetic standards change too. Even if the sound changed, the writing system to follow it can't be changed, for not to lose the code function. Original alphabet started as the phonetic script of a language, but none of the traditional alphabet works for the global phonetic; specially English is often hard to show even its own pronunciations.

Korean Hangur is unique and rational: gathering phoneme based parts which symbolize each main organ shape to pronounce, for showing a compounded syllable. It's easier to memorize than Latin alphabet for beginners. Each traditional writing system has their rationality and beauty. However there are too many different standards in the world. Then the International Phonetic Alphabet( IPA* ) by using Greek and Latin alphabets for the base has been developed. It's useful to teach foreign languages/dialects or recognizing one's own pronunciation objectively. But you have to master about 200 abstract notations for it: enough forgettable when you don't use it in your daily life.
*IPA: International Phonetic Alphabet

For sending meanings/ global communications
  Representations of definitions and idioms are all different between traditional writings based on phonetics. To use a foreign language, you have to memorize all through abstract sound notations to recall an image. Besides it is not stable because of the changeable nature of vocal communications. Especially English was raised collecting vocabularies and idioms from many sources and it lacks rationality in the system. Then writing correct English is hard even for native users.

Greek, Latin and Sanskrit had been learnt for long term usage, calling them universal languages, but only by specialists with much effort. Also Europeans tried to construct 'universal (vocal) languages' in many rational/simpler orders, such as:
Esperanto : by Zamenhof (simplified grammar with the root words from European languages)
David Mann's Constructed Language; (rational structure with combination of new one-syllable root words)
Basic English:  by Charles Ogden ( uses only limited vocabularies in 850 basic English words ) etc.

But people seemed not to like speaking tight. Vocal languages have to be natural for people's feeling. Till now, more than 40000 Americans have experienced constructing a new language, but most of them are not for global usage, but for fantasies of their hobby. Perhaps humankind likes vocal creations eternally.

There are some ideographs too, but mostly for handicapped people:
Blissymbolics Communication International

* For searching more:
Langmaker (a lot of info about constructed languages)
Constructed languages

Thinking way in Alphabet
  Phoneme-based alphabet system is simple: the total amount of letters is small: e.g. English has only 26, and the writing goes putting letters in a line following a speech. So the simple way naturally brought the typing and mass printing method, with industrial technology, throwing the world into the rapid stream. Time goes in one line. Voice/speech goes in one line. The users of alphabets became to think in one line , seeing forward; developing scientific ideas; seeking to be frontiers . But aren't they inclined to forget to look back at the same time? Do they try to see the totality of the world, balancing with others?

Braille characters
In 1829, Louis Braille invented a system of writing and printing for the blind: called 'braille', in which letters, numerals, and punctuation are made of raised dots; the fingers distinguish the raised position(s) of a six dots set. The way spread widely in each alphabet/syllabic system. Since the phonetic standards are not the same, the users can't communicate with foreigners by this way. Besides very few general people can read blind people's writings or braille for them. So always some voluntary service to learn the system is needed for blind people's writing communication with others. It's hard to be equal in their relationship.

For the future:
If a printing system for raised line fonts is developed, blind people might read the simply shaped symbols which general people also can read in the future, although the Latin alphabet is hard for the purpose. The EL bases can be formed  thinking about it originally.

Chinese writing system / The Ideograph

The structure:
The Chinese writing system was originated as hieroglyphs , but since Chinese was a syllabic language, it could become syllabic symbols too. The main ways to form the hieroglyphs were:
1) patterned after a concrete thing,
2) psychologically abstracted for the concepts such as 'above', 'below',
3) a combination of plural symbols by 1),
4) a combination of 1) symbol(s) and another for only phonetic usage,
and additionally
5) diverting the meaning into another following to the change of usage of a part,
6) borrowing a particular part to divert to other purpose.
( "Encyclopedia of writing systems in the world" by Sekainomoji-kenkyukai 1993 )
The earliest Chinese hieroglyphs already had the combining system of elemental symbols. I think this system was developed naturally from the custom of counting strings for combining thoughts

The writing form was simplified as the ideograph adjusting for brush strokes in Han dynasty: called Han-zi/Kan-ji. By the above ways, Chinese use thousands of ideographs out of hundreds of the basic parts( the amounts are different by eras ). Protecting to make too many ideographs, they join ideographs next to the other to expressing a complex concept. Japanese who's ancestors imported the ideograph made a lot of new joined-ideographs for translations of Euro-American terms around one or two hundred years ago. By this way, many Japanese could understand Western science and technology very quickly; China reimported them.

Universal usage:
The ideographs which represent root meanings about the nature such as fire, water, human, the sun, morning, rain etc. and commonly understandable abstract concepts such as above, below, front, behind, large etc. have not been changed almost for 2000 years beyond the areas. Alphabets were evolved through ideographs, so alphabet users might think that the ideograph is a past/inferior system. But actually the Chinese ideograph has worked for universal usage much more rationally than alphabetic common languages like Latin. China is two times wider than Europe except Russia, and has almost twenty different vocal languages which are not understood from others. But China has governed their big country using the same ideographs beyond cultures and time, being read in completely different ways vocally. Now about a quarter of the population of the world can communicate at least some by the Chinese ideograph. ("KANJI" by Suzuki Syuji)

For looking back:
However ideographs which were made based on cultural ideas or simplified from the shape of a particular cultural thing have given hardships to later/other learners. On the other hand, through those shapes of Han-zi parts and these combinations, ancient Chinese lifestyles can be guessed. e.g. The ideograph for 'flatten ( on the ground )' and 'bark' are understandable to include a 'dog' in the part, but why do 'devotion' and 'vessel' include it too? : Dogs were sacrificed for a ritual to purify the vessel for prayers by its blood... ( "JiTo" Shirakawa Shizuka ) The users of traditional Han-zi sometimes can listen to ancient voices and feel a large time and cosmos while using it. Although modern China simplified many ideographs for their convenience and lost relations to the ancient world.

Thinking way in the ideographs:
 By the custom of using ideographs, visual thoughts grow naturally: a vision can contain light and shadow at once, contrary to the vocal expression works one by one in a line. Perhaps relating to these natures, Taoism who can put any ideas in the large pocket with respect for the origins were born and grew with the Chinese ideograph, and alphabets users raised Judaism, Christianism and Islamism: they each use different writing systems but all originally were from the Semitic script; the roots of these three religions were from the same Abraham. And yet they can't see their absolute God in one, because they each walk in their own line and don't see others.

Changeable phonetic functions:
 Contrary to the long life of the basic meaning function of Han-zi, its reading sounds have changed even for the standard Chinese, especially a lot after Yuan Dynasty. Then the phonetic function became useless, keeping the ideographs( related to the 4) type ) complicated meaninglessly and making hard to be learnt. Even a place/person's name shown by the same ideograph(s) is read in different ways by time and area.

The purposes to represent a sound or to send a meaning are completely different matters. And yet all traditional writing systems try to do both at once in one word, and the rules became loose in time. Global communications/recording need the perfect phonetic system for names/learning any pronunciations, and the definition system for objective thinking and recording/sending information/messages. Both systems must be better to be separated for stability of these universal usage.

The Metric system

For a standard measurement of length, ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans used the length of their feet. The Chinese standard was ten times the width of a finger and it was shown by an ideograph simplified from a picture of a hand opened wide between thumb and index. These were convenient to know approximate size without a ruler ( tool ), and had no problem in each old local culture.

But when communicating with others or for more precision, traditional ways made troubles. Then modern people made the metric system as an entirely new common measurement, based on the earth; not a culture. EL is intending to be a sort of metric system for vocal sounds and definitions in the global society.

A traditional language is easy for the native users since the images are attached to them. But translation is needed for understanding others just like conversion is needed for traditional measurements. It is troublesome and often makes friction between them. When people use their native language with the EL symbols: the same image-measurement together, no translation is needed anymore. That is what EL wants to be.

However a language is a container of images just like a container to bake a cake. Various containers bake cakes in various forms from the same ingredients. It is rational to cut a rectangular cake into rectangular pieces, but radial cutting is more rational for a circular cake. Each language has a peculiar rationality. If a rectangular container user commands all others to cut each cake into eight 'rectangular' pieces, others must be confused. Your usual way is not the only way in the world. What's common and rational we can share, let's search together. Building EL together gives the chance to think about it worldwide.

By technology, the human capacity was changed very much: All kinds of vehicles are the extension of foot, many tools and machines work as the extension of hand, telephone made ears loooong, telescope and microscope made eye sights huge. Decays ago, civilized human's movements, works and senses expanded in each way. Now getting the personal computer and the Internet, the human's outer brain is rapidly expanding day by day, trying to open all human abilities.

It's risky, because nobody can really care about totality of the world. The next necessity is for linking all in a dynamic balance. IT is trying to do that with the competitive way in the alphabetic custom instead of the coexisting way. They also knew the convenience of visual symbols and made many computer icons by each company's style. Besides computer hardware/software don't always have interchangeability with others. So there are fences of hardware/software, their icons and languages in the IT world now, and it's far from bringing the really balanced move or the network for world peace.

In the beginning of human world, a person used gesture, signs, pictures, marks and voices naturally choosing the better method to fit to the situation for telling a message. "To Go" of American Indian's sign language was the imitating a walking motion by both hands instead of the feet, and the pictograph for "To Go" was by putting human foot tracks in a line. Also moving an index finger away turning around from the mouth was the hand sign for "To Speak", and its pictograph was a similar line from the mouth. I guess there were some links between their signs and pictographs. These links lead their understanding naturally. Human beings do live in the balance using all senses and abilities in nature. But with technology, a person/a society often incline to a limited way, having inclined brains for something, forgetting about whole body balance.

Usually languages and other communication methods have been developed in different times and by different people, and have no natural links between all. That's why the world is very complicated now. But can't IT bring them back to the naturally balanced totality? I think it might be able, if it get a proper common auxiliary language:

# The base is visual, and the symbols can be the common computer icons also
# with the multi-method system linked all naturally from/to the base
# the global phonetic system and the nature based definition system work separately
# with the system for ease of management/taking out of information
Please imagine the world.

In the old days, people were afraid of telling a lie, perhaps because they were seeing themselves from God/Nature eyes. Now the IT world creates virtual realities, fantasies, hackers, computer viruses, swindlers etc. What people can do our best for peace is linking for watching the world together and cooperating and networking to protect the balanced movement and the environment. The cooperation has to include the people who don't want to have IT or even the writing system. By the help of the common hand sign, they can communicate with others remaining their old cultures.

If you couldn't imagine a nicer world/life, it wouldn't come. Your imagination and will make your life and the world. We already have gotten IT. Only we can choice is how we use it in better way. For that, I'm introducing you my idea, the Earth Language. Please check out the plan for the concrete system

By Yoshiko McFarland
The Bibliography (mostly in Japanese)

The Recommendation links searched by EL Cid

English waning:

...There are reasons to believe that the English language will eventually wane in influence.
For one, English actually reaches and is then utilized by only a small, atypically fortunate minority.
Furthermore, globalization has also encouraged regionalization, and with it the spread of
regional languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hausa, Spanish. Finally, the spread of English and
these regional languages collectively has created a squeeze effect on small communities,
producing pockets of anxious localization and local-language revival resistant to global change...
Linguistic big bang creates translation headaches at European Union (from Yahoo News Jan. 18,’05)
This is about the proliferation of languages in the EU.
Previously the EU had 11 languages shared between 15 members.
Now it has 20 shared by 25. The languages are: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German,
Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish have now been joined by Czech, Estonian,
Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak and Slovene.
It became a linguistic crisis recently when the EU admitted 10 new member-states with 9 new languages!
If the Turkish- and Greek-speaking parts of Cyprus join one day,
then Turkish will have to be added to the list of EU languages.
The load of work on oral and written translations is hard to comprehend.

Various interesting traditional communication ways

# Canary Islands whistle communication

...Like Snow White's seven dwarfs, shepherds on one of Spain's Canary Islands whistle while
they work and use the sound to communicate over long distances.
No one knows how long the shepherds on the island of La Gomera have used the rare whistled language
called the Silbo Gomero, but American and Spanish researchers said on Wednesday that the brain
processes it like a spoken language....

La Gomera page also says "So rugged is the island that pre telephones, Gomerans developed
a language of whistling to communicate from valley to valley.
With a little practice you can place an order for an ice cold beer or a gin & tonic ready for your arrival.
Just Whistle"
# Switzerland Yodel
... Switzerland developed and patented the standard form of yodel long before the people of
other countries ever thought of standing on mountaintops and screeching at the top of their lungs...
There is an interesting background history about Yodel: once each Swiss male citizen between the
ages of 41-43 was obliged to serve guard duty on a mountain peak, learn yodelling as a secret and
cryptic method of communicating with his neighbor on the next peak, to use it only when there was
imminent danger of attack.
# Kathakali (traditional Indian dance with many codes) ...*<<El signs can be used like this, too.
The dance drama form that originated in Kerala (a state in South India) uses a multi-media
approach to communication. Costumes and masks, for example, are part of the communication.
Then there are the movements of the dance, the facial expressions, and the hand gestures (called mudras).

The mudras
form a vocabulary of about 500 to 600 words most commonly used in the stories.
The involvement of the whole body in Kathakali is called Angika Abhinaya,
which can very roughly be translated as "body language". (scroll down to Angika Abhinaya)
The 24 basic mudras (there are 470 mudras in all in  Kathakali;
also contains lists of single hand mudras, double hand mudras, etc.)

does rely a lot on dance steps, hand movements,
and  facial expressions, but not on masks.
Mohiniyattam portrays feminine love (sexual, devotional, and maternal),
using hand gestures and facial expressions more
than dance steps.
Koodiyattam is said to be the oldest form of classical dance theater  in the world!
It too originated in Kerala. Its name means "combined  dancing" because the male parts are
danced by men from one caste, and  the female parts by women from another caste!
Yet another form of dance is Mudiyettu which is presented with little
by way of `mudras', facemasks and facial expressions, but emphasizes
facial make-ups and `chutti' (artwork done on face with rice paste).
# Talking drum
Origin: African. A drum used originally for communication between villages.
Usually an hourglass shaped two-headed drum where the heads are laced together with thongs of
gut or leather. The drum is typically held between the arm and body so that varying pressure can
be applied to the thongs which alters the drum's pitch, thus "talking."

Talking drums are part of a family of hourglass shaped pressure drums;
in the Yoruba language of west Africa, these include "gan gan"
(the smallest member of this drum family) or "dun dun" (the largest of the talking drums.)
The drum heads at either end of the drum's wooden body are made from hide,
fish-skin or other membranes which are wrapped around a wooden hoop.
Leather cords or thongs run the length of the drum's body and are wrapped around both hoops;
when you squeeze these cords under your arm, the drum heads tighten, changing the instrument's pitch.

Drums have often symbolized the power of a traditional political leader, and skilled drummers
("onigangan" in Yoruba) have held considerable status in these west African communities.

One of the unique features of the instruments is their ability to closely imitate the rhythms
and intonations of spoken language. In the hands of skilled performers,
they can reproduce the sounds of proverbs or praise songs through a specialized "drum language"
- their dialogue can be easily understood by a knowledgeable Yoruba audience.
Whether accompanying dances or sending messages, the sound of these instruments can carry many miles.

Donno: A lightweight, narrow talking drum from Ghana

Undun or Dun-dun:  A talking drum of the Yoruba in Nigeria. Has a more rounded sound than the Donno.

Tama: The Wolof talking drum. It is very small and is played up under the armpit.
# Morse Code
Morse code is also a way of communication through a sound of tapping.
But it is not a separate language, only a way of communicating the letters of the alphabet (English only, I think)
where long and short taps or sounds (or flashes of light) form patterns that are identified with letters of the alphabet.
The words are then formed in the traditional way, from the letters. (Morse code was developed in English)
(I don't know - yet - how it handles accents like acute, grave, circumflex, etc., in the other European
languages; nor do I know whether it can handle non-European languages.
.... *<< In Japanese method like this/telegram, you have to choose words very carefully, not to be mistaken by the receiver, because there are so many homonymous. (addition: Yoshiko))

Sailors who used to use Morse code in the earlier days used to say that after a person had become fluent
in the code, he no longer listened for dots or dashes or even letters of the alphabet formed from sequences
of dots and dashes, but he would distinguish one word at a time, in the stream of dots and dashes came in.
It was possible, they said, to have a conversation entirely Morse code, with each of the communicators
sending out and receiving words, and not just spelled out characters to be laboriously assembled
into words at the other end.
The modern equivalent would be people communicating on Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger by typing out words.
Of course, the words are typed letter by letter, but the mind of the sender sends them out word by word,
and the receiver reads word by word.
...( * <<an EL message receiver reads flowing images by symbols (addition: Yoshiko))
# Solresol
Someone called Monseiur François Sudre came up with a language based on only seven syllables, namely,
do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti. These are the names of the notes in what has come to be known as the solfa notation.
In Solresol, every word in the language consists of combinations drawn from exactly these syllables.
(I don't know how they handle proper names.) As a result, the language can be whistled, hummed, played on
a violin or guitar or piano (one note at a time, no harmonies). In principle, t can even be drummed or tapped,
with one tap for do, two for re, three for mi, etc.

In addition, there is a language called Eaia, which is based on the 12-tone scale.

Solresol links:
Greg Baker's site : very little information, but says that today there are people trying to revive Solresol
- gives links to the people, also some vocabulary, and a lengthy quote which gives more vocabulary).
This page gives the unique background of Greg Baker
More vocabularies not found in Greg Baker's site.
The Solresol Place
Solresol grammar
English-Solresol dictionary
Steven Rice's comments on Solresol
Links from Wikipedia:

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