RE: Suggestion for new dingbats/symbols

From: Dreiheller, Albrecht <>
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 02:13:59 +0200

Watching the discussion on symbols, icons, signs, emoticons of the last days,
I'm thinking a little bit philosophically about the question:
Where will we end up?

Is communicating with symbols like a new easy-to-learn universal language?
Is this our new Lingua Franca?
Even if there will be more different symbols than Chinese characters?

Well, it might be easy to understand symbols, if the context is clear and
if they are displayed or printed with good quality.
So the _receptive vocabulary_ might be pretty big for many people.

But what about writing symbols -- either by hand or by keyboard?
Will there ever be an "IME" or the like for entering symbols easily with
a standard keyboard? Using radicals, vowels, and consonants?
Yes, emoticons are an exception, I know.
We remember shortcuts like ALT+0151 for an em-dash and other typography characters.
But how to enter a "Departure" or "Immigration" or "No Smoking" symbol with
my keyboard?
Will it always be like this: Selecting from huge lists that have some
strange sorting (historical sorting, LRU-sorting, font-coverage dependent sorting, ...)?
Or will it always be for experts only?

How to write a mail like this:
"When you arrive at Madrid airport, follow the sign that looks like this: [?]"
Even if the font library supports all needed symbols, it will be easier to
send a photo than to choose the sign from a huge Unicode symbols list.

So the _productive vocabulary_ of symbols will always be very, very small.

I end my philosophical excursus, I settle back and enjoy the concept of alphabets
and letters as "atoms" for easily putting words together.
With up to 200 keystrokes per minute.

Received on Thu May 30 2013 - 19:19:37 CDT

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