Are we seeing a return to hieroglyphics?

This video caught my attention and got me thinking whether we as 21st century humans are seeing a resurgence of hieroglyphics? Many of the world’s greatest ancient civilisations used picture based text. So maybe this could be a more natural way of writing for humans and one of the reasons us dyslexics have such a hard time with the written word. If you gave someone who had no experience of written language an early Sumerian text, it’s likely that with a quick explanation, they could quickly grasp a basic understanding of the document. This would not be the case with a text written in English. However, even though Sumerian writing started as a simple representation of life, over time it evolved to express more abstract thoughts and to become more efficient to reproduce. 12thplanet7 We now have a language which, although difficult and frustrating for many dyslexics, allows us the depth and flexibility to express anything we desire. So it intrigues me that in a time where the written word is in some ways our primary source of communication, we are gravitating in droves towards more pictorial forms of written expression i.e. the emoticon. There are many similarities between the evolution of the emoticon and early pictorial texts. They both started as simple and rudimentary representations of life e.g. : ) ‘Smile’ or o/ \o ‘High Five.’ This quickly evolved to be more specific e.g. *<|:-) ‘Father Christmas’ or //0-0\\ ‘John Lennon.’ What it was possible to convey within the constraints of the Qwerty keyboard was out grown and the emoticon was born. The emoticon is a hugely expressive tool, where one symbol can express a huge array of concepts depending on the reader and context. We are now at the stage where emoticons routinely punctuate our written communication and are starting to make their way into even formal correspondents. I myself find it increasingly difficult when engaged in a text conversation on a platform that has no support for emoticons! I feel it’s only a matter of time before we see the first emoticon make its way into the oxford dictionary. This may seem like a wildly lofty aspiration for the humble emoticon, but I’m pretty sure if you come back to this post in 5 to 10 years’ time, you’ll wonder why you ever doubted my predictions. I personally welcome the increase of ‘emotispeak’ as sometimes a picture literally does express many words; they’ve saved me countless hours of stress on SMS and WhatsApp. If you take a look around the internet you’ll soon realize that with a little bit of imagination the emoticon possibilities are endless.

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Words by Sean Douglas 


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The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv

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One thought on “Are we seeing a return to hieroglyphics?

  1. Stephan Caputa says:

    Caught your article two years after post and… No exact matches found for “:)” using

    en.oxforddictionaries.com

    Still no love for the emojis, even while adding words/phrases like “squad goals”, “drunk texts” and “superfruit”. :/

    I assume with an increase use of emojis, that emoticons will be replaced. I have even heard girls now calling the old emoticon smiles as being creepy, that only creepy old guys use them. I have to wonder if there will be strong enough social dictation in the near future for the dictionaries to add them.

    Like

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