This is a system of ideograms for English. I call them “neoideograms” or “ids” for short, “neo”– new — meaning in contrast to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters of ancient origin.
I have a “dictionary” that covers about 6 thousand words. This number is not as intimidating as it might sound, since many are what I call “etymids” that use Latin and Greek roots. They work well for scientific and academic words. I also provide “directids,” which don’t rely on word origins, for many of the same words .
I have transcribed quite a bit of English prose into them and use them for my diary and for notes.
This is a system for writing English graphically drawing from everyday observed images, conventions, and 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–they depend on individual perspective, taste, and spontaneous creativity. I’d love to see others’ creative improvements and original creations!
They are open-ended and incomplete. Each word and idea is a puzzle in 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.
Why have I spent thousands of hours on this strange enterprise? It’s fun! 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, of confronting it. They are a means of graphically redefining one’s words and ideas, and of attaining greater clarity and focus. For me, they are a great adventure.